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Authorities wakes up to address first time officially by pto on the eco-sensitive zone of Kaziranga National Parkthat as per as tourism master plan, which shall emphasise on eco-tourism, eco-education and eco-development, and be prepared by the department of environment and forest in collaboration with the department of tourism. The said plan will be prepared on the lines of tourism guidelines notified by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. With the Centre making it clear that delineation of eco-sensitive zones must be completed by June 30, the park authorities are giving final touches to the proposal and have drawn up an approach paper for better understanding of the issue.

Once an eco-sensitive zone is declared, its activities are classified into three areas — prohibited, regulated and permissible — to minimise, or preferably eliminate, any negative impact on the area and ensure that the park is safe for the future. “Kaziranga is a wildlife tourism destination, which is now getting converted into a place for noisy parties, loud music, marriage ceremonies, birthday bashes, New Year high-watt picnics and adventure sport. The peaceful and tranquil that Kaziranga should be, seems to be totally forgotten in a bid to make more money in the name of Kaziranga. This must be stopped by all conscious and well-meaning citizens and wildlife lovers, and by the conscious local citizens,” Yadava said in the approach paper.

He said Kaziranga should be known across as the world as a wildlife destination and surely not as discotheque, party and gambling destination. The paper said if high standards of eco-friendly tourism are not maintained, tourism would actually be affected in Kaziranga. “Drop in tourism volume is sure to happen because of substandard quality,” Yadava said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its performance audit report on Kaziranga has already flagged the issue, saying the delay in finalising the eco-sensitive zone has had a direct bearing on activities detrimental to the well-being of animals with animal corridors getting blocked by largescale constructions. Citing an instance, the CAG said in Bokakhat circle, 29 resorts/dhabas have been running for periods ranging up to 40 years on land falling within 2-3km of the park boundary, majority of which belonged to farmers. Similarly in the Kaliabor circle, 71 resorts/dhabas/commercial establishments had been running and in none of the cases no-objection certificate from the park authorities had been obtained.

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