Bhopal: There is good news for wildlife lovers, the gates of six tiger reserves in the state have been opened for tourists from Sunday. Tiger reserve zones falling under National park area were closed during monsoon and have now been opened after a gap of over four months .People interested in visiting these tiger reserves in National Park at Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Pench, Satpura and Sanjay can opt for online booking.

Ticket charge for visit to the tiger reserve area is Rs 250 per head, however, other charges including jeep safari may range upto Rs 3,500 per head. As per National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the visitors are allowed to enter only up to 20 per cent of the core areas of tiger habitats, however, three national parks of Madhya Pradesh are exempted from this ceiling.

At Kanha National Park, tourism is allowed in 37 per cent of the core area, while this limit in Pench National Park is 36 per cent and Bandhavgarh National Park 31 per cent. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF) Alok Kumar said, “Tiger reserves have been opened for tourists. It will remain open till June 2018. Rs 250 will be charged for ticket and rest of the charges will be according to facilities availed for tiger safaris. It will promote tiger tourism in Madhya Pradesh. Entire forest department is dedicated and committed for conservation of tiger tourism.”

However, activist Ajay Dubey has raised concern over opening the tiger core area for the tourists saying that the poachers might have free run in the forests.

The activist had filed a leave petition in the Supreme Court demanding ban on tourism in the core area of the tiger reserves. The court had imposed interim ban in July 2011. Many politicians, environmentalists and tiger conservationists had protested against the ban and later the ban was lifted. The activists said that the forest authorities will have to keep tight vigil in the area, particularly the core area of these forests to check any kind of poaching.

“Government will have to maintain fairness in on-line booking or else it would create problems for foreign as well as indigenous tourists if backdoor entries through spot booking are done,” he added.

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