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Tiger Conservation Guidelines Do Not Promote Sustainable Tourism
October 16, 2012

Tiger Conservation Guidelines Do Not Promote Sustainable Tourism


16 October 2012

Kolkata,Shobha Roy: The comprehensive guidelines for tiger conservation and tourism issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on October 15, was highly “tiger centric”.

The guidelines were also in violation of the Forest Rights Act, the Wildlife Protection Act and the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, according to Swathi Seshadri of Equations (Equitable Tourism Options).

Swathi Seshadri is a member of a Committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) following Supreme Court’s direction to finalise guidelines for the demarcation of core and buffer as well as for tourism in and around the Protected Area.

According to her, the guideline does not take into consideration the aspects of promoting eco-tourism or sustainable tourism, which was recommended by the Committee.

With the Union Government notifying fresh guidelines on tiger conservation, the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, lifted its interim ban on tourism related activities in core areas of tiger reserves.

“Our worry is that NTCA is concerned about tigers and not about environment,” Swathi told Business Line.

As per the Committee’s recommendations, the guidelines should not be implemented in tiger reserves unless the designation of core and buffer areas was revisited and legally carried out.

“This recommendation was not taken into consideration by NTCA, instead the guidelines made references to existing core and buffer areas as if they are legal and final,” she said.

Explaining her concern, she said, the guidelines had been drawn up in manner that allows the tourism industry to control the manner in which funds are utilised, even though such a move was in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The final guideline provides for identification and mechanisms to secure “corridor connectivity”. However, any process related to such identification was outside the scope of the guidelines and were not provided for in the Wild Life Protection Act.

“Identification of corridors will impact many local communities and any such process must be arrived at in consultation with and consent of those communities. The tiger tourism being practised is elitist in nature and unless mandated will not take into consideration the interests of local community,” she added.