Flashy discos, motorbike racing, loud music, bright lights and lavish weddings in resorts on the periphery of Corbett National Park in gross violation of laws and scant concern for the wildlife

Unhindered commercial activity around Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is posing a serious threat to this eco-fragile zone and obstructing movement of animals.

Flashy discos, motorbike racing, loud music, bright lights and lavish weddings in resorts on the periphery of Corbett National Park in gross violation of laws and scant concern for the wildlife in the vicinity are fast spoiling the peace and tranquillity of the eco-fragile zone.

“There are about 3,200 beds being offered around Corbett national park by 77 resorts and 17 more resorts are under construction. With only 600 people allowed to visit Corbett park in a day, it is for anybody to guess what others do,” Sujit Banerji, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, told journalists here on Monday.

According to a survey, commissioned by the Tourism Ministry last month, about 70 per cent resorts around the park host weddings, five per cent of them have discos blaring loud music and some near Ramganga also encourage motorbike racing.

Almost all the resorts have high boundary walls or fences and some of them are spread over 17 acres. About 70 per cent of the resorts were built on what originally was agricultural land, the survey found out.

Peeved at the pace of commercial activity around Corbett National Park, Mr. Banerji said that in a concerted effort between the ministries of Tourism and Environment and Forests, a mechanism was being worked out to make it mandatory to take permission for any commercial activity to begin around such national parks in the country.

‘Guidelines’

“We also plan to come out with guidelines for such eco-fragile zones and would like to put restrictions on the number of visitors by trying to check the carrying capacity of such zones. Though it would be a body blow to promotion of tourism, there have to be some strict measures to keep a check on such activities,” Mr. Banerji said.

Citing example of Kenya and Tanzania where concrete construction was forbidden along roads bordering national parks and in their vicinity as it hampers movement of animals, he said the Centre and State governments would need to work in tandem if India’s wildlife has to be protected.

The Tourism Secretary warned that all other parks would otherwise meet the fate of Panna and Sariska wildlife sanctuaries where tigers have become extinct.