The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the ban on tourism in core tiger reserve areas till September 27 and indicated that it is not averse to permitting regulated tourist activities provided the Centre revised the guidelines to protect the tigers at the earliest.
A Bench comprising Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar gave the Centre four weeks’ time to frame fresh guidelines after consultations with states, all stake-holders, hotel associations affected by the ban, guides and tour operators.
The Bench told Attorney General G E Vahanvati that if tourism is allowed, there would be a watch.
If there is no tourism there would be no humans to watch the tigers.
“Poachers will immediately be caught by tourists and the guides.
Poachers actually work undercover.
If no tourists are allowed, it will be a field day for poachers,” the Bench remarked.
Vahanvati concurred with the observations made by the Bench.
The Bench made the observations after the Attorney General sought permission to revise the existing guidelines to ensure that tigers were protected even while tourism is promoted.
The Bench asked AG Vahanvati whether the existing tiger conservation guidelines envisage a complete ban on all activities inside core areas.
The Attorney General replied that the rules did not envisage a complete ban, but provided for 20 per cent activities inside the core areas.