Violation of vehicle entry norms in Tadoba National Park came under legal scrutiny when Avinash Prabhune filed a PIL in the State High Court alleging that Tadoba officials have been breaking rules by allowing large number of ‘VIP’ tourists inside the park.
The forest officials requested that they be granted extra time for filing of the revised entry regulations of the Park. Even though the request has been granted, the Court has expressed displeasure at the state of affairs. It also hinted that if the officials failed to submit the revised regulations within the stipulated period, the applicant’s request of a ban on ‘VIP quota’ system of entry will be accepted.
Entry of 894 VIP Vehicles Alarming
The applicant put before the Court statistics obtained through an RTI. The RTI response shows a total of 904 safari vehicles entered the Park between April and December 2015. Out of these, 64 vehicles were unauthorised.
Between 31 October 2016 and 6 November 2016, 894 VIP vehicles were allowed entry inside Tadoba. As per rules, only 394 vehicles should have entered the Park in these 7 days.
An RTI request has revealed these staggering number of visitors being allowed inside the park. The numbers are way above the acceptable limit. This poses grave danger to life and safety of wildlife and ecology inside Tadoba.
Frequent Transfers Causing Delay
The High Court was informed about appointment of a special committee to prepare the revised guidelines. The committee comprises many senior forest officials and the applicant himself. However, the process of revision and update hasn’t concluded yet.
It was said that transfer of some of the committee members brought unforeseen delay in the process and hence more time was needed to prepare the report. However, the applicant vehemently opposed the arguments and demanded immediate stay order on the VIP entry system.