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Govt notifies guidelines on tourism in tiger habitat

New Delhi: Centre on Monday notified fresh guidelines on tiger conservation allowing "regulated low impact tourism" in the core and critical tiger habitat.

"Since, tourism has been happening in areas of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which are now designated as core and critical tiger habitat, regulated low impact tourism (visitation) would be allowed in such areas subject to site specific carrying capacity," says the fresh guideline issued by the Environment Ministry.

The guidelines, however, say "no new tourism infrastructure should be permitted in such core and critical tiger habitats."

Last week, the Supreme Court had allowed the Centre to notify within a week its fresh guidelines on tiger conservation and indicated that it may modify its July 24 order staying all tourism activities in the reserved areas across the country.

A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, had however, made it clear that the states, if aggrieved by the guidelines, are free to challenge it before the court.

The guidelines say that buffer forest areas should also be developed as wildlife habitats with the active involvement of local people living in such areas.

"This would provide extended habitat to tiger population for its life cycle dynamics, besides benefitting local people from ecotourism activities in such areas while reducing the resource dependency of people on core and critical tiger habitats and human-tiger interface conflicts.

"The opportunities for stakeholders would include management of low cost accommodation for tourists, providing guide services, providing sale outlets, managing excursions, organising ethnic dances and the like," say the guidelines notified ahead of the Supreme Court taking up the matter on October 16.

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