Andhra Pradesh mulls new guidelines for eco-tourism projects

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3 Nov 2010
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The new stringent draft guidelines issued by the Centre for development of eco-tourism in states have forced the Andhra Pradesh government to rework its strategies. The state-level steering committee is now mulling framing new guidelines and ensuring that the ongoing projects fall in line, according to a report in The Times of India.

According to official sources, the wake-up call for the state government was the Union government's recent withdrawal of permission for development of eco-tourism at Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy botanical garden at Kothaguda near Hi-Tec City, Madhapur. It was an ambitious project where a hotel, a multiplex and a convention centre were to come up in a reserve forest area in Hyderabad. The Union ministry of environment had expressed its shock that the project included construction of a hotel with about 400 rooms, a convention hall with seating capacity of 2500 people, multi-level parking for 5000 vehicles at an estimated cost of Rs 39 crore — a gross violation of the guidelines.

The new guidelines lay specific restrictions on buildings and infrastructure not only within the forest area but also in proximity to core areas like tiger habitats, national parks and sanctuaries. In recent years, tourist facilities have been mushrooming around protected areas, leading to exploitation and misuse of the fragile eco-systems.
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