DNA | Last Modified - Jul 03, 2011, 03:13 AM IST
Jaipur: Following the draft guidelines issued by the Union ministry of environment and forests, the state government is gearing up to develop ecotourism in and around the protected areas of the state.
Union ministry has also asked to prepare a detailed site specific ecotourism plan for each protected area and put in public domain after approval of the state government by the year end.
"Initially, we have already identified five protected sites and have prepared a detailed plan to develop ecotourism at these places. We have already sent a detailed report to the Union government. More such sites will be identified in the coming months," said a senior forest department official.
The guidelines enumerate the planning, development, implementation and monitoring procedure of eco-tourism in the country. According to the guidelines no new tourist facilities will be set up on forest land.
This step is in compliance with the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the directives of Supreme Court. Government has also been asked to develop a system by which gate receipts from protected areas should be collected by protected area management and not go as revenue to the state exchequer.
This will ensure that resources generated from tourism can be earmarked for protection and conservation of the area. In addition, a Local Advisory Committee (LAC) must be constituted for each protected area by the state government.
It will also advise local and state government on issues related to the development of eco-tourism in non-forest areas of ecological tourism zones. It is mandatory to make provisions to ensure that ecotourism does not get relegated to purely high-end, exclusive tourism, leaving out local communities. Further, state-level steering committee should be constituted under the chairmanship of chief minister to review the recommendations contained in the state-level eco-tourism strategy.
Union ministry has asked that the committee should have representation from local communities that live in and around the protected areas, tribal welfare department, panchayati raj Institutions and civil society institutions.