BIG CAT ORDER SPELLS BIG WORRY FOR MINISTRY - 28th July 2012

MOUSHUMI BASU NEW DELHI

Tiger conservationists have hailed the recent Supreme Court order banning tourism in core areas, but the Environment Ministry is in quandary on the implementation of the directives within three weeks. Despite a previous April 3 SC order, many States are yet to notify the buffer zones of their tiger reserves so far.

Wildlife experts are concerned about various practical problems in the implementation of the SC order and point out how the core areas in the 41 tiger reserves of the country have varying situations. They want the States to clarify their specific issues before the Court through affidavits.

The Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT), on the other hand, is devastated with the decision of the apex court and will file for a review when the Court goes into the eco-tourism guidelines at the next hearing on August 22.

Sources in the Environment Ministry pointed out that the SC directives do not spell out specific guidelines or mechanism for putting an end to the existing tourism in the core areas.

Further, States like Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Maharashtra have not even notified their buffer zones as yet. “After all, the final

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