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June 08, 2011
Hotels Around Tiger Reserves To Cough Up Cess


8 June 2011

Lokpal, Jaipur:

The Rajasthan Government has started consultations with operators of private hotels around Ranthambhore National Park in Sawai Madhopur and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar to finalise the quantum of cess to be imposed by the end of the year, as directed by the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment.

According to official sources, the Tiger Task Force headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had initially suggested a flat 30 per cent cess on private hotels, which fall within five kilometres of these forests. But later it relaxed the same, owing to opposition and allowed the State Governments to decide the quantum of cess as per the local conditions. But at the same time, the Centre said the cess should be enforced by the year-end.

As per the guidelines issued by the Ministry to develop eco-tourism, funds generated from the proposed cess would be used for upkeep of these parks and sanctuaries.

Sources said the Central Government would soon start month-long consultations with the State Governments to decide on putting a ban on the entry of tourists in the core areas of these forests.

Alarge number of hotels have come up around Ranthambhore during the past decade. Some of them are very close to the national park. Despite its efforts, the Govt failed to check the mushrooming of the hotel industry, as sighting of tigers is attracting a large number of foreign tourists.

Around Sariska the magnitude of the problem is far less. Sariska has only five tigers and sighting of them is not as frequent as in Ranthambhore, where their number is about 35.