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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve body floats 'priority entry' scheme for tourists

Mazhar Ali, TNN | Oct 6, 2012, 01.12AM IST CHANDRAPUR: There is good news finally for wildlife tourists planning for a safari in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) with the start of new season. TATR will open with 'priority offer' for its visitors, provided Supreme Court lifts the ban on tourism in tiger reserve in coming days. TATR Tiger Conservation Foundation has approved Rs 4 lakh for the purchase of books titled 'Wild Maharashtra', published by Sanctuary Asia, in its last governing body meeting. A total of 400 books, procured at subsidized rates, will be sold to tourist at cover price and foundation expects to earn handful sum from the sale. Those tourists purchasing the book costing Rs 2950 will be offered 'priority entry' into the tiger reserve, provided the Supreme Court lifts ban on tourism in tiger reserve. Decision to give 'offer' on the book was taken during the meeting of the foundation, headed by forest minister Patangrao Kadam, on September 18. The foundation will utilize the sum earned from the sale of books on 'capacity building' of the forest department staffers. The minutes of the meeting have specific mention about the decisions. Greens have, however, slammed the idea of offering privilege entry to tourists. President of Friends of Tadoba, Niraj Potdar said, "The proposed offer on purchase of book is absurd and makes no sense. The wealthy tourists, who are capable of spending extra Rs 3000, will seek privilege entry by purchasing the book. The common tourists, who queue up for hours for tickets on gates, will be deprived of the chance of entry. It appears to be pathetic attempt to oblige the publication." Gate fees hiked for new season Todoba will open its gates to tourist with new fee structure after Supreme Court spells out its verdict on tourism in tiger reserves. TATR Tiger Conservation Foundation has decided to increase gate fees per vehicle to Rs 1000 on Saturday, Sunday and festive days. However, on week days tourists will be charged Rs 750 per vehicle. Earlier, the gate fee per vehicle was Rs 500. TATR is most popular tiger reserve in Central India visited by average over 60,000 tourists a year. The apex court is expected deliver its verdict on on October 9.

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