News & Updates
Halt to Buxa Safari / Rides for tiger protection
17th September, 2010: The forest department has stopped the most – sought - after car safaris in the Buxa Tiger Reserve on the directive of a central authority on the conservation of the big cat, dealing a major blow to tourism in the eastern Dooars.
Tour operators said the ban, which had come into effect from yesterday, would keep visitors away from Buxa as car rides were the major attraction.
"We have received a directive from the National Tiger Conservation Authority recently, mentioning the need to keep tourists away from core areas. Accordingly, the field director of the BTR has issued a notice to stop car safaris in the forest for the time being. Tourist can trek to Buxa Dooar or Pukhuri hills to enjoy the forest," said Suvankar Sengupta, the deputy field director of Buxa Tiger Reserve (East). Hundreds of people avail of the car safaris everyday to go deep inside the forest. They can see animals and visit the Pukhuri hills, where different species of fish are found in a pond.
"It is not clear why the forest department has all of a sudden stopped car safaris in the beginning of the tourism season. Tourists come to Buxa with the sole intention of taking the jungle rides. Visitors' flow to Buxa will stop in the absence of the car safaris and what will then happen to the local people who depend on tourism directly or indirectly?" asked Shekhar Bhattacharjee, the secretary of the Jayanti Gram Unnayan Samity. Jainti is one of the entry points to Buxa, from where tourists board vehicles for the jungle safaris. Tourism is the major source of income for around 200 people in the locality, where more than 10 resorts are run by individuals and different government departments.
Bhattacharjee said the forest department wanted to relocate people living in the tiger reserve as part of a central plan. "They had offered Rs 10 lakh to each family to vacate Jainti last year. We are ready to move out but there has been no effort on the part of the authorities to make the payment. We will start an agitation if BTR officers do not resume the car safaris in two days." ….. The TelegraphPosted on: 24 Sep, 2010