Steep decline in tourists in Simlipal

Baripada: Similipal National Park, regarded as one of the important biosphere reserves in the country, has witnessed steep decline in the turn out of foreign tourists this season, officials said today.
In view of the restrictions imposed by the Park authorities, the tourists preferred to stay away from it, including the tiger reserve area, official sources said.
Footfall of even domestic tourists, mostly from West Bengal and Odisha too declined during the period.
The number of foreign visitors was only 43 during the ongoing season from November to May this year, the sources said, adding, the steep fall in the number of tourists is mostly attributed to the security concerns inside the sanctuary area following the onslaught of Left ultras since March 2009.
The national park will be closed from July 1 due to the monsoon and entry of the tourists shall be banned till October considering the poor road conditions inside, said Anup Kumar Nayak, RCCF and Field Director Similipal Tiger Reserve here today.
At present the tourists are not permitted to stay overnight inside the sanctuary limits. Only day tourism is allowed by the tiger reserve authority.