The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted its interim ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves across the country,a day after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) notified fresh guidelines.
According to the new guidelines,a maximum of 20 per cent of the core area will be delineated for regulated tourism. Moreover,the state governments will put in place site-specific framework for each tiger reserve.
On July 24,the Supreme Court had imposed an absolute ban on tourism in core areas of 41 tiger reserves across the country.
Now that the guidelines for tourism in and around tiger reserves have been notified by the NTCA,we modify the aforesaid interim order dated July 24 and direct that henceforth tourism activities will strictly be in accordance with the guidelines. All concerned authorities will ensure that aforesaid guidelines shall be strictly in accordance with the notification, said the Bench led by Justice A K Patnaik.
Citing the NTCA guidelines,the court noted that the state governments are required to prepare their own tiger conservation plans under the Wildlife Protection Act. It directed them to prepare the plan within six months and submit it to the NTCA for approval.
We make it clear that we have not held the guidelines either intra-vires (within legal authority) or ultra-vires (beyond legal authority), said the Bench,adding that if anyone did not agree with the guidelines,they could challenge it before the appropriate forum.