Kochi: As part of the conservation of India’s National Animal, the Supreme Court has directed to stop tourist activities in the core areas of tiger reserves in India. This would include Periyar Tiger Reserve as it has a tiger population of around 40.
A bench of Justice Swatanter Kumar and FMI Kalifulla said that if the needful was not done within 3 weeks, the environment secretaries concerned could face contempt proceedings.
“We make it clear that till final directions are issued by this court, the core zones or core areas in the tiger reserves will not be used for tourism,” the bench said in its order.
The apex court was also furious that several states despite its earlier directions of April 4 and July 10 had failed to notify the buffer zones in their reserves and warned that if they failed to comply within three weeks, the defaulting states shall be saddled with fines of Rs.50,000 each, recoverable from the Principal Secretary, Forest, of the state concerned.
According to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Deepak Sarmah, there will be no tourism activity in Bandipur range; Nagarahole, D.B. Kuppe and Antarsante ranges in the Nagarahole National Park; Lakkavalli and Muttodi in the Bhadra range; Punasoli and Kulgi in Anshi-Dandeli range, and K. Gudi in the BRT range.
The court has also directed the forest departments to remove all the residential facilities set up in the core habitats and the critical corridors at the earliest.
The order has been sent to all deputy conservators of forests and chief conservators of forest (Wildlife) on July 25. But tourism activity will continue in Bheemeshwari, Bannerghatta, Bhagavathi (Kudremukh), Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Dubare, and the blackbuck sanctuary in Bidar.
The order has also invited wildlife and conservation activists to support the initiatives for the conservation of the big cats. It asked the activists to support the non-commercial and educational values of nature tourism and to garner public support.
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