Regulate tourist vehicles at national parks, Raje tells officials

After allegations of increasing tourist activities in national parks and sanctuaries in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje directed forest officials to ensure that tourist vehicles going inside these places should be strictly operated as per norms.

Directions have been issued to ensure that movement of tourists and vehicles should not harm wildlife.

In the past few years, there have been several incidents when tigers in Ranthambore National Park attacked people. According to wildlife experts, increasing tourism activities and vehicles in the park has been one of the reasons for the aggressive behaviour of some of the big cats.

According to rules, a maximum of 40 vehicles can be allowed in five zones inside Ranthambhore National Park. On the contrary, during peak tourist season, over 100 vehicles carrying tourists are sent inside the park, which irritate the big cats.

“Controlling traffic inside the park was the need of the hour. There have been numerous incidents when a tiger gets surrounded with tourist vehicles and could not find a place to escape,” said Suraj Soni, an environmentalist.

Directions were issued by the Chief Minister at a review meeting of the forest and environment departments.

Raje instructed officials to issue proper guidelines to tourists before they enter Ranthambore National Park so that their activities do not harm wildlife.

“On the directions of the Chief Minister we asked all our officials to ensure that vehicles inside national parks should be operated strictly as per norms. We will soon issue fresh guidelines to be complied in all conditions,” said a senior official of the forest department.

Officials have been asked to ensure that no encroachment takes place in and around national parks and sanctuaries. But no directions have been given on commercial activities taking place in the restricted area outside the park, which includes several hotels.

The Chief Minister was informed that the department will soon come up with a crocodile park in Bagdara in Udaipur district, for which Rs  1 crore will be sanctioned soon.

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