Guwahati: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has asked the state government to take action on a tourist facility being constructed in the heart of the 500 sq. km Manas National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a tiger reserve.
As per NTCA, the eight-room resort, nearing completion, was built in violation of the NTCA (Normative Standards for Tourism and Project Tiger) Guidelines, 2012.
In a letter to the Assan chief secretary on May 31, the NTCA said an Assam-based environment activist Rohit Choudhury has raised the concern about the ongoing construction of the resort at a cost of Rs. 5 crore. It added that the construction was sanctioned by the Bodoland Territorial Council in the national park.
The letter said, “…appropriate action in the said matter may please be initiated immediately and instructions may be issued for furnishing the factual status/action taken to this authority within a week’s time.”
Earlier, alerting the NTCA, the state activist providing documents he received via Right to Information, alleged that construction of the tourist facility was against the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 and the directives of the Supreme Court.
In 2018, Supreme Court had said that forest rest houses or inspection bungalows were facilities created for the camping of forest officers primarily to discharge their duties connected with conservation, protection and management of forests and wildlife, which clearly implied that such facilities could not be used for tourism purposes, especially night stays.
The NTCA guidelines aimed at phasing out night stay tourism from the core areas of tiger reserves and prohibiting the construction of new tourism structures in critical tiger habitat of such reserves.