SUBJECT :Beach camp operators have opposed a proposal by the Uttarakhand Forest Development Corporation (UDFC) to set up fibre huts in the forest area close to Ganga. 

Dehradun, February 3, 2018: Beach camp operators have opposed a proposal by the Uttarakhand Forest Development Corporation (UDFC) to set up fibre huts in the forest area close to Ganga. According to a proposal sent to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) the corporation has asked for approval for setting up such huts in the stretch from Muni Ki Reti to Shivpuri in Tehri district.

According to the plan around 18.367 hectares of forest land has been allocated for beach camping, of which 3.65 hectares will be used for setting up of camps. UFDC has also selected 20 camp sites in the area and the total expenditure in setting up infrastructure including the fibre huts has been pegged at Rs 33.15 crore.

The beach camp operators allege that with the proposal of setting up permanent fibre huts UDFC is violating regulations in its capacity as custodian of forests in the state.

Yusuf Zaheer, a beach camp operator said, “The beach camp operators had been running seasonal camps in accordance with guidelines. We remove temporary tents from camp sites beside Ganga for five months of the monsoon season and do not use any electricity to disturb wildlife. On what basis, the UFDC has sent its proposal to set up permanent fixture like fibre huts equipped with electricity facility to entertain tourists throughout the year. Will it not be violation of environmental laws and concerns to do so on forest land near the Ganga?”

Quite interestingly, top officials at UFDC expressed ignorance regarding provision of fibre huts in the proposal which has been pending before the MoEF for over a year now.

SK Lepcha, managing director of UFDC said, “I don’t know about any provision to set up fibre huts in the proposal for beach camping sent to the Union environment ministry. According to guidelines only temporary tents can be set up and not permanent infrastructure like fibre huts.”

He added that since the management of beach camps have been handed over to Uttarakhand Eco-tourism Development Corporation a day ago so the latter may rework on the proposal.

Meanwhile, Anup Malik, head of Eco-tourism Development Corporation said that he would need a week to go through the entire documentations on beach camping to take any decision on the matter.


Source: Times of India