Saturday, June 26, 2010

No takers for rising tourism in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

No takers for rising tourism in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Neeta Kolhatkar / DNASunday, June 27, 2010 0:01 IST

The sudden surge in tourists at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur, 150 kms from Nagpur, has left forest officials helpless and compelled them to limit the number of vehicles and tourists to TATR. They are now proposing the introduction of new schemes to help accommodate the rising demand for ecotourism.

“We cannot cope with the limited infrastructure. There is no forester. We have proposed the addition of a forest range officer and one more official. Also, due to the higher number of tourists, we’ve proposed new open-air buses, as in Kanha,” said Sanjay Thakre, field officer, TATR.

Forest officials claim they had sent a proposal to the chief minister to rope in the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). However, according to them, MTDC wasn’t keen on developing the concept. “Tourism growth is being debated and can evolve over a period of time. Right now, we are concentrating on protecting the animals. However, the fact is we sent a proposal to the government but the MTDC doesn’t seem interested. The infrastructure is not keeping pace with the rising tourism demand,” said an official in the forest department.

MTDC officials, however, claim that they’re currently working with the Nagpur branch of the Forest Development Corporation Of Maharashtra Ltd (FDCM), although they would rather deal with the forest department directly. MTDC has refuted allegations that it is taking no steps to enhance infrastructure.

“I have sent the MoU draft to the chief minister, but we have raised objections. We’d rather have a direct tie-up with the forest department than deal with the FDCM. We will also present the proposal to the central government. We are already giving funds received from the central government directly to the forest department. We have also begun new plans to develop nature trails in Tadoba,” said Ashok Dhakne, managing director, MTDC.

Dhakne said that MTDC is enhancing its services. However, he alleged that despite a tourism policy favouring private players, none have come forward. “We are augmenting the services on our properties and have planned to increase building capacity too. We need more private players, but we don’t see it happening in the Tadoba forest area, despite incentives like tax exemption and stamp duty discount,” he said.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_no-takers-for-rising-tourism-in-tadoba-andhari-tiger-reserve_1401748

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

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