Recently, the Uttarakhand state government has made a declaration that three new eco-tourism zones will be made on the periphery of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. The announcement has come a month after the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on overnight stays in the forest rest houses near the tiger reserve.
In the month of August, the division bench of the Uttarakhand High Court has banned tourists from staying overnight in national parks, reserve forests, and protected forests so as to protect the wildlife from incidences of poaching and human trespassing. Also, the court put a cap on the number of vehicles visiting the wildlife reserve to 100 per day.
In October, the Supreme Court stayed the High Court’s decision. A month after the portals of Dhikala zone were opened for the tourists once again, and the rest-houses located close to the Corbett Tiger Reserve started accepting reservations.
Prior to the order passed by the Supreme Court, angry jeep owners in the Dhikala zone had asserted that the regular visitors from the National Capital Region (NCR) and wildlife supporters had started visiting Ranthambore National Park after the HC put the ban on Corbett.
Forest Minister, Harak Singh Rawat, recently made an announcement on his part that three new eco-tourism zones planned to be built outside the Corbett Reserve will be situated at Nihal, Pawalgarh, and Sandani. According to the news reports, temporary rest houses will be erected so that they can be demolished in case the court enforces more stringent regulations.
Reportedly, the rest-houses will be equipped with rainwater harvesting facilities to relieve pressure on local resources and solar-lit fencing to ward off wild animals. Rest-house bookings will start January 2019 onwards. According to Harak Singh Rawat, the three new zones will encourage tourism and create employment opportunities to the locals too.
Jim Corbett National Park has 200 and above wild cat residents that dwell in the area covering 1288.31 square kilometres. It is not only popular in Uttarakhand but also throughout North India. It receives about 3 lakh tourists annually. As of now, of the existing six eco-tourism zones, Bijrani, and Dhikala are the highest ranking ones.