Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): As New Year is just around the corner, the rush of tourists has doubled in all tiger reserves of the state. Such is the situation that online and offline bookings are full and the forest officers are declining the request for entry tickets. In some tiger reserves, even police help is being taken to control the crowd.
Panna Tiger Reserve director Brajendra Jha told Free Press that in comparison to previous season, the flow of tourists is more this time. Tourists are coming from other states like Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab, and even foreign tourists arriving to nearby Khajuraho are also taking time to visit the tiger reserve, he added.
As ticket bookings, whether it is online or offline, are going on in full swing, the tourists are calling tiger reserve officials, demanding tickets. To avoid the calls, many officials have started to switch off their mobile phones.
Kanha Tiger Reserve director SK Singh said that tourist rush has increased substantially. “Everyday around 1,200 to 1,800 tourists are visiting the reserve. The movement into the core area is limited, but the buffer area is seeing huge rush. From December 17 till date, around 10,000 tourists have visited the reserve. Such is the situation that around 60 vehicles are going to such places where earlier only 10 to 15 vehicles used to move. To maintain the crowd, casual guides are also being used,” Singh said.
Moreover, a senior forest officer of one of the tiger reserves said, “VIPs come in large numbers and it is becoming difficult to accommodate them. Everyone wants to go to the core area where entry remains limited. When we turn down their request, then it becomes a bone of contention. Hence it is a difficult time for us.”
Satpura Tiger Reserve also reported a huge footfall of tourists.
Satpura Tiger Reserve director L Krishnamurthy said in Pachmarhi, more than 350 vehicles are moving and in other places, around 50 to 60 vehicles. Everyday around 450 vehicles ferrying tourists are moving in different regions of the reserve. To control the crowd of tourists, special staff and patrolling teams have been deployed.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve district forest officer Prakash Verma said that usually, 60 to 70 vehicles take tourists to different areas of the buffer zone, but now at least 140 vehicles are plying in the buffer area. Police help is being taken to control the influx of tourists.