Coimbatore/Nilgiris: Acting swiftly on the Supreme Court’s order, forest authorities in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday shut down the three tiger reserves in Anamalai (ATR), Mudumalai (MTR) and Kalakkad Mundanthurai (KMTR) for tourists. The Apex Court had on Tuesday banned tourism in core areas of tiger reserves in the country. Holidayers who had visited the tiger reserves were caught unawares when they were asked to leave.
Private resorts were in a quandary on refunding money as many tourists had booked the rooms online. “We sent out five tourists who were camping at the ATR. They moved out smoothly after we showed them the court order,” said Rajeev K Srivastava, Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director, ATR. “Another tourist who had made an advance booking was also informed about the cancellation. The tribal people who were deployed as tourist guides will now be given other jobs,” he added.
MTR Deputy Director Ameer Haja said, “The entire 321 sq km reserve comes under core zone. There are no buffer zones in MTR. We had planned to declare Masinagudi and Singara as buffer zones after their proposed merger with MTR.” The MTR would be shut till August 22 and the Forest Department might decide on filing an appeal in the Apex Court after August 15, he added.
Acting on SC order, forest authorities in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday shut down the three tiger reserves.
KMTR Field Director-in-charge S K Shanmugasundaram said apart from discontinuing tourism, boating had been stopped in Karayar Lake. However, bus services would continue to be operated to tribal settlements and to ferry estate workers inside the reserve forests. Devotees would be allowed to visit temples inside the KMTR.
Officials at ATR estimated that banning tourism in the Top Slip in Ulanthi Forest Range, Chinna Kallar Water Falls, Sekalmudi Government Guest House in Valparai Forest Range, Nallamudi View point and Meenparai in Manomboly Forest Range, would lead to a revenue loss of Rs 1.75 crore a month.