SUBJECT :In a bid to boost ecotourism in the buffer zone, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) has proposed to open five year new gates in areas surrounding the park. 

Nagpur, January 31, 2019: In a bid to boost ecotourism in the buffer zone, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) has proposed to open five year new gates in areas surrounding the park.

The decision was taken at a meeting held at Agarzari camping site near Mohurli. Additional chief secretary and guardian secretary of Chandrapur    Praveen Pardeshi directed TATR field director NR Praveen and deputy director (buffer) G Guruprasad to work on the plan as early as possible.

The five new gates will be located at Mamla, Doni, Pangdi, Pahami, Doni and Ramdegi in Chandrapur, Mul, Khadsangi and Shivni forest ranges.

The new entry gates in the buffer will be apart from the existing seven at Agarzari, Adegaon-Dewada, Kolara, Junona, Madnapur, Alizanjha, Navegaon in Mohurli, Khadsangi and Palasgaon ranges with a carrying capacity of 120 vehicles per day. Machan sittings are also available at these places on advance booking.

“Though five gates have been proposed, we would be ready with two gates- one at Mamla and another at Ramdegi- Where road network can be developed,” said conservator of forests & field director NR Praveen.

“As of now, the benefits of ecotourism are mostly percolated to locals in the periphery of core area and existing buffer gates. The new project will benefit more locals at other villages too. We will repair roads earlier used for coupe working,” said Parveen.

Apart from opening new tourism gates, Pardeshi has also asked to reopen boating facility at Irai lake at Sitarampeth. In February 2016, boating facility was launched amid fanfar at Sitarampeth, 4km from Mohurli, but the tourist facility was abruptly closed down citing less availability of water in the lake.

Source said the park officials have also been told to work on including payment of guide, Gypsy, entry and camera fee online so that tourists’ time is saved during entry. There are several complaints that the staff doesn’t reach the gate on time and there are lots of hassles before entering the park.

Though the TATR decision to open new gates in buffer zone is a welcome move considering the apex court order in 2012 bringing cap on tourism in core areas, experts were cautious about tourist’ inflow in the new areas.

“Tadoba core and buffer have 80 tigers. It is the tigers that attract tourists in the park. The same is not true with buffer areas where tiger sightings are at a lower side. The buffer is preferred over core only when getting entry is seemingly difficult,” said young naturalist Himanshu Bagde.

Suresh Chopne of Green Planet said,” Agarzari-Adegaon, Madnapur or rather Navegaon buffer zone gates are preferred by tourists because they fall on the connected roads to Tadoba and are contiguous with core area. It will be difficult with new buffer areas owing to their odd locations.”

Gadchiroli honorary wildlifewarden Uday Patel said, “Though ecoturism in new areas will be forest- friendly and will put tabs on illict feeling of bamboo, the plan should be such that natural water bodies in these areas and tiger habitat should not be disturbed.”