With the situation at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here having been reviewed at a meeting of an ad-hoc committee held here a few days ago,it was thrown open to tourists on Tuesday.

The re-opening was announced through a one line press statement issued on Tuesday by the Chief Wildlife Warden Bhagwan Singh through the Information and Public Relations Office.

The Committee had been constituted on the recommendations of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in accordance with a recent directive of the Apex Court.

The ban on tourism in the MTR had been imposed about four months ago by the Apex court. While lifting the ban the court had laid down certain conditions. Among other things the Court had ordered that tourism activities should not affect tiger conservation efforts.

The Deputy Director,MTR A.Ameer Haja told The Hindu that on receipt of the court order steps had been taken to comply with the conditions.

Stating that elephant rides,van safaris etc have resumed,he said that the forest rest house complexes like the Log House,Sylvan Lodge and Abhyaranyam have been thrown open.He added that those who had been part of the first van safari had sighted a tiger.

Meanwhile those in the hospitality and travel sectors have welcomed the re-opening of the MTR.Many of them said that the closure had hit the flow of tourists.

People belonging to various sections of the society in Gudalur and surroundings said that they are very relieved and added that they were hoping that the reserve would be re-opened during the Diwali weekend when there was a spurt in the inflow of tourists.

However conservationists and environmentalists pointed out that the emphasis in the court order was on conservation of tigers and protection of their habitat.This should not be lost sight of by both the management of the reserve and the committee members.

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