After nine months, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) reopened for tourists on Tuesday. Though the park was opened to the public, tiger and lion safaris, mini train and boat rides and Kanheri caves will be off limits. Tourists will only be allowed to go up to the Tumnipada gate in the park, which will be open from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm.
The park was closed on March 31 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. According to official estimates, SGNP receives more than 12 lakh visitors every year and earns around Rs 50 to Rs 70 lakh as entry fee annually.
While requesting visitors to follow Covid-19 rules, the authorities have made wearing masks or face covers and using sanitisers compulsory while entering the park, said SGNP officials. “All visitors should protect themselves and others from Covid-19 by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds and cleaning their hands among others. Strict action will be taken against those who violate Covid-19 guidelines,” an official said.
While private vehicles will not be allowed inside the park, paid parking facilities, which can hold up to 300 cars, have been made available in a newly developed parking area near the entrance. Also, BEST buses have been made available for visitors to travel within the park.
Before lockdown, private vehicles heading to Kanheri caves used to lead to traffic inside the park, especially on weekends. On an average, the park sees 100 private vehicles daily. The SGNP had reopened for morning walkers on October 15. The registered morning walkers (pass holders) are allowed to visit the park on a marked trail only for two hours – from 5.30 am to 7.30 am.
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