The State Government has issued fresh guidelines to regulate the visit of foreign tourists and researchers to the areas inhabited, particularly, by the primitive vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) such as Bondas, Dongaria Kandhas and others.
As per the new guidelines, no foreign tourist or researcher intending to visit the areas inhabited and frequented by PVTGs will do so without express permission from the Tourism Department or District Collector.
A copy of the permission given by the Tourism Department will be marked to Collector and SP of the district concerned. The inspector-in-charge of the local police station will ensure that the conditions mentioned in the permission letter are strictly followed.
In case of any violation, criminal cases would be lodged against the tourist, sponsor and tour operator under appropriate sections of law, said a circular of the Department of Tourism and Culture to the Collectors.
The Department modified the guidelines issued on February 25, 2012 following reports that tour operators and excursion agencies were facing difficulties in getting permission from the Collectors due to their absence in district headquarters and other pressing engagements.
Applications seeking permission to visit prohibited areas will now be made to the Tourism Department or the Collector concerned through the tourist officer of the district in prescribe format. An officer authorised by the department will grant permission within 48 hours of the receipt of the application and the same will be intimated to the Collector and the SP.
The Collectors have been asked to allow visitors to only limited number of villages/locations taking into account the sensitivity of the area and genuine purpose of the visit, the department said.
The visitors should be accompanied by a representative of the development agency of the PVTG. For the purpose, the development agency may empanel suitable persons from the PVTG community to act as guides.
Permission should not be granted for visiting the PVTG areas at night. Besides, no photography and videography of the tribals belonging to the PVTGs would be allowed in the designated haats (weekly market) or villages.
Physical proximity of the tourists to the PVTGs should be strictly prohibited and they should not be allowed to enter houses of the tribals.
The State Government has made it clear that no permission would be granted for any form of amusement or entertainment by the PVTGs for the tourists.
The tour operators should not depict the photographs, video clips, write-ups on PVTGs in their websites and brochures in inappropriate manner for promotion of tourism.