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NTCA seeks action on tourist facility in Assam tiger reserve – Mrit News

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The local administration has established an eight-room resort in the heart of Manas National Park

The local administration has established an eight-room resort in the heart of Manas National Park

GUWAHATI

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has sought action from the Assam government on a tourist facility coming up in the heart of the 500 sq. km Manas National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a tiger reserve.

In a letter to the State’s Chief Secretary on May 31, the NTCA said its attention to a ₹5.6-crore tourist facility sanctioned by the Bodoland Territorial Council in the national park was drawn by Assam-based environment activist Rohit Choudhury.

The eight-room resort, nearing completion, was in violation of the NTCA (Normative Standards for Tourism and Project Tiger) Guidelines, 2012, said the letter from Md Sajid Sultan, the tiger authority’s Assistant Inspector General of Forest.

“…it is requested that appropriate action in the said matter may please be initiated immediately and instructions may be issued for furnishing the factual status/action taken to this authority within a week’s time,” the letter said.

Citing documents he received via Right to Information, Mr. Choudhury said the tourist facility went against the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 and the directives of the Supreme Court. 

The top court had said in July 2018 that forest rest houses or inspection bungalows were facilities created for the camping of forest officers primarily to discharge their duties connected with conservation, protection and management of forests and wildlife, which clearly implied that such facilities could not be used for tourism purposes, especially night stays.

The NTCA guidelines aims at phasing out night stay tourism from the core areas of tiger reserves and prohibiting the construction of new tourism structures in critical tiger habitat of such reserves.


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