Nagpur: In flagrant violation of the Bombay High Court and the Nagpur Bench of National Tiger Conservation Authority, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve has completely crossed the limit allowed to go to Mantralaya babus and MLAs who have stayed in the city for the winter session of the Vidhansabha on Saturday.
Only 125 vehicles are also allowed per day in both shifts from all the six entry gates – Kolara, Mohurli, Khutwanda, Pangadi, Jari, and Navegaon. This also includes the discretionary (VIP) quota of 10 vehicles from all gates.
However, on Saturday Tadoba sources, guides and field staff confirmed that more than 160 vehicles were allowed to enter the park. Repeated attempts have been made to get a response from Tadoba Field Director Jitendra Ramgaonkar and Deputy Director (Core) Nandkishore Kale
TOI has also learned that at least 20 MLAs, state labor ministers, desk officers, secretaries, other ministry staff and their relatives were among the visitors on Saturday. A similar crowd gathered on Sunday as well.
“Advance bookings are already being done by tourists across India due to the Christmas holiday and end-of-the-year holidays. The VIP crowd has added to it. Not sure whether the VIP paid the entry fee or not,” sources said.
High Court directed the park management to come up with guidelines
Ministers, MLAs and Babus are also calling the field director directly and asking for entry. Not only the core, the same situation prevails at the 14 entrances of the buffer zone of the park.
The Tadoba management has not only violated the tiger conservation plan but has also violated the rules framed by it in 2018 even after the orders of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.
In a Public Interest Litigation (88/2017) filed by Avinash Prabhune, a concerned citizen against the continuous violation of carrying capacity and promotion of VIP culture in Tadoba, The High Court directed the park management to come up with guidelines and proper rules that would take good care of VIP protocol and avoid discretionary quotas or even black marketing.
The PIL was disposed of with the assurance of Tadoba that the rules made by him would also be followed. Although the management itself is violating the rules.
“With tiger sightings quite regular, Tadoba could also be a hotspot for these VIPs, But when it comes to saving the same tigers from harmful and linear projects, then these public representatives press for either capturing or exterminating the tigers.” Wildlife lovers said.