Saturday 25 August 2012

What Uttarakhand Government can learn from SC banning Tourist activity in the core tiger reserves

Written by Anil Singh

The latest Supreme Court order for banning tourist activity in the core tiger reserves, may have come as a relief for the Uttarakhand forest department; but it has raised the question of livelihood for Lakhs of people dependent on Tiger Tourism in Corbett National Park, particularly over a prime stretch of the Ram Ganga river.

Is there a way out?

It should be remembered that, if humans are allowed to venture into forests, either for fuel or fodder, or for seeing wild-life; the forests and the wild life there, will always be at risk. Since, just about 1400 tigers are left in the country, hence one can't take any chances.

Hence the SC ruling appears logical.

But, there is equally important question. The question of bread and butter of those dependent on the Tiger tourism and ancillary activities. Barring these people from earning their livelihood is equally wrong as well.

But the SC ruling is still logical.


As, the SC ruling, questions that particular mindset, which sees "Money and Jobs in almost every thing".

If the Government and the Wild Life Department, allows businesses and entrepreneurs put in money, to set up resorts and other activities, in the hope of generating jobs for the people; then its (Government's) belief is not well placed.

After all, once you allow a business to enter such sensitive area; it will exploit the resources there, and the job generation will be just a by-product. This can be said for sure, as the primary motive of any business is maximising the profit.

Hence, the SC ruling indirectly points to the Government that "Tiger reserve Core areas are not for Profit".

If the Government actually wants to help the people and at the same time conserve the Tigers in the state; then it should keep the private players out; and create a road map for responsible Tiger Tourism in the state. That includes, recruiting guides on contract etc.

It should be remembered that, only when the revenue from Tiger Tourism comes directly to the Government; only then better wages to those doing small jobs in the area, better health care facilities for injured tigers and other wild animals and responsible tourism can be ensured.

And last not the least, irrespective of the common belief, Our Reserves/Forests can't support impossible number of tourists and activities.


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