DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand forest department has suspended all tourism activities in the critical tiger habitat of Rajaji Tiger Reserve after the National Tiger Conservation Authority directed the chief wildlife warden (CWLW) to do so with immediate effect. The official had on September 3 issued an order allowing tourism activities in the area.
According to a letter dated October 8 by the director of RTR, DK Singh, “Tourism activities in Chila range, Rawasan unit and Motichoor range have been suspended with immediate effect”. The NTCA had termed the CWLW’s order contrary to the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and tourism guidelines.
The NTCA acted upon a legal notice by Gaurav Kumar Bansal, an advocate in the Supreme Court and a wildlife activist, stating that opening of tourism within the “core area /critical habitat of Rajaji Tiger Reserve and allowing tourism within Motichur to Rajaji Rani via Micro Tower Tourism Zone from October 1 instead of November 14 is nothing but violation of various provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act-1972”.
This unsustainable use of Rajaji Tiger Reserve landscape was not only capable of damaging the whole ecology of the reserve but would also cause harm to the pristine biodiversity of the national park, said Bansal in his notice. Notably, the CWLW had directed the director of RTR to open the Satyanarayan to Kansro area, for the whole year. In July, the NTCA had asked the CWLW to submit a report on the alleged illegal constructions in Corbett Tiger Reserve to which the official did not respond. Following this the NTCA has issued a reminder.