Rajasthan HC issues orders against encroachments in Ranthambore
all encroachments in the eco-sensitive zone around the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan will be removed following a court order. The encroachments include residences, hotels and other commercial establishments. The Jaipur bench of the High Court of Rajasthan gave the verdict on May 25: "All encroachments in the eco-sensitive zone beyond Sherpur Tiraha check post (the entry point to the park) be removed immediately.' It has directed forest officials to take the help of the police and local authorities to remove them.
Boundary limits A December 2002 order of the forest department of Rajasthan had banned "all construction activities in this (500 m from the park boundary) zone'. But within a few months the ban was relaxed to accommodate a few "very very special' cases because "immediate application of this order had inadvertently hit adversely some hotel projects'.These were "granted a special relaxation for taking up construction within 500 metres of the park.
According to records of the office of the conservator of forests and field director, Tiger Project, Ranthambore, 12 hotels are located within 500 metres of the forest boundary. Of these, three are located on the forest boundary and one within the forest area (see graphic:Unnatural intrusions). Besides, many of the residences, hotels and other commercial establishments are owned by well-known conservationists (see