I would like to know if there are rules and limits on the number of resorts that can spring up in the buffer zones of a tiger reserve or a wildlife habitat? I have heard from people that it’s getting increasingly difficult to obtain land to do so but have been seeing quite the contrary at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve where I have been working. Thank You.

Asked by Girish R Varma

Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Trustee, Wildlife First

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has formulated guidelines on Eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) based on orders of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition 460/2004. An area of upto 10 km around all Sanctuaries and National parks is to be notified as an ESZ. The guidelines prescribe that hotels and tourist resorts in such zones will be regulated based on an approved master plan to ensure that movement of wildlife is not restricted. However, this is not being enforced uniformly across States, which could be the reason why restrictions are still not being imposed around Bandhavgarh. Yet another petition is presently being heard by the Supreme Court on stoppage of tourism in Core areas of Tiger Reserves.

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