To boost eco-tourism in the state of Maharashtra, the state government has decided to permit hotels and resorts in the periphery of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. A notification issued by the state urban development department last week, states tourist homes and resorts can come up within 5 km of a wildlife sanctuary or national park in the state. Maharashtra has 48 sanctuaries, six national parks and four conservation reserves.
The notification stated, “For land situated within 5 km distance or up to the limit of the notified eco-sensitive zone from the boundaries of wildlife sanctuary and national parks, if the land owner applies for development permission, for development of eco-tourism, nature tourism, adventure tourism, same may be allowed.” The regulation, however, does not apply to forest land, the notification added.
Nitin Kareer, principal secretary, Urban Development Department (UDD), said the regulation was issued after the tourism department approached them to allow certain concessions to boost tourism. “It was the proposal of the department of tourism. They wanted that all the concessions should come in one single GR. We have made the regulations as per the tourism department’s requirement to promote tourism,” Kareer said.
While the state has as many as 48 sanctuaries, the forest tourism around such reserves has not been developed on the lines of Karnataka.