Mar 25, 2015
Pilibhit: To draw nature lovers to the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve and up their chances of tiger sightings, the district authorities have decided to build two tower huts equipped with solar lights, binoculars and night-vision cameras in the sanctuary at points were movement of the big cat is prominent in the forest area. Pilibhit DM Om Narayan Singh said the idea was given to the DFO of PTR after tourist numbers were noticed falling even after the notification of the forest area as a tiger reserve. Singh said he has released Rs 20 lakh from the critical gap filling fund to PTR for construction of the tower huts. More huts are proposed to be set up depending on the success of these two in attracting visitors, he added. However, environmentalists have pointed out that the infrequent tiger sightings are caused by the dwindling number of big cats and the authorities are not taking any steps to curb poaching. Explaining the rationale behind setting up the towers, the DM said, “Visitors often leave disappointed when they are unable to sight tigers. Generally, the movement of tiger is replicated in the area of its territory at fixed timings. So, it was decided to set up the huts in that area so that chances of tiger sighting increase.”
The proposed tower huts would be spacious with the facility of a washroom. Arrangements would also be made for drinking water and for this, a deep-bore hand pump would be installed underneath. Apart from this, there would be adequate vehicle parking space below the hut which would be properly fenced with wire for safety, the DM said. There are also plans to equip the tower huts with solar lights, binoculars and high-quality night vision cameras. “Once tourists start spotting tigers, the reserve’s popularity will increase and attract even more visitors,” the DM said. The sub divisional officer of PTR, DP Singh, said the spots for setting up the tower huts had been finalized by the forest department. The first hut would be fabricated at Bheemtal, where tigers come to drink water, while the second hut would be set up in Chuka 58 area. He said that the work on both the huts would be initiated this month. Mahof range officer KP Singh said a total of 5,500 tourists had visited Chuka spot previous year during seven months’ permitted period of jungle tourism between November 15 and June 15 while this year 3,000 tourists have reached PTR in the first four months of the corresponding period. Amitabh Agnihotri, the vice president of Wildlife Biodiversity Conservation Society said the PTR authorities have failed to attract wildlife tourists because the number of big cats is actually dwindling. He said cases of poaching were increasing the PTR and forest authorities have done nothing to put a check on it. Another environmentalist, TH Khan said common tourists had stopped visiting PTR or staying at Chuka spot due to frequent tours of VIPs like ministers, senior officials and high profiled politicians. He alleged that during the visit of any such VIP, the entry of common tourists is restricted by PTR authorities for many days.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com