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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tadoba Tiger Reserve to open new tourism route in buffer areas

By TBM Staff | Mumbai In a move that is sure to ease some tourist pressure from the near-saturated Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Maharashtra, the administration of TATR has decided to open a new route for tourists in its buffer areas. While safaris in the buffer areas will be cheaper than those inside the reserve, tourists can also enjoy some special perks which are not allowed inside the TATR on this new route. Tourism in the buffer area is being promoted with the sole objective of economical development of buffer villages and providing employment to local youths, according to a report by The Times of India. The new 14-km-long tourist route will begin from Navargaon Chauki and end at Jakana gate near Junona village in the buffer area. "Local eco-development committees of the Devada and Junona villages will shoulder the responsibility on this route. While gate fees will be charged, youths from the villages will also take up jobs as guides for the safaris. Modalities over the gate fees and timings of the safari are being finalised. Tourism in the buffer zone will start in the next 10 days," said P Kalyankumar, DCF, Forest Division, Chandrapur. The department has added a five-km patch of road to the existing nine-km tourist road. Three water holes fall along this route and the density of the forest and wildlife here is said to be as good as inside the tiger reserve. "Spillover tourists of TATR can be accommodated on this new buffer route," said Kalyankumar. There would be no restriction on the number of vehicles on this new route. Visitors can take the buffer ride from either Navargaon Chauki or Jakana gate. "Tourists can enjoy snacks and coffee at some specific points on the route. We even have plans of plying a mobile snack stall along the route, so that tourists can buy snacks midway if they want," he said. This new buffer route will be open to tourists even during the monsoon, when safaris inside the TATR are closed. Based upon experience gained from opening this new route, the forest department has plans to open two more routes in the buffer area soon.

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