The Gorumara wildlife division of the state forest department has served a notice to all private resorts and lodges on the fringes of Gorumara National Park in Jalpaiguri, asking them to refrain from activities that can affect the environs of the reserve forest area.
The notice states that the resorts cannot play loud music or use laser beams or halogen lights.
“Also, resorts can’t light up bonfires on premises and should refrain from disposing of their garbage outside their premises. These restrictions have been imposed to ensure conservation of the forest so that the wild animals do not get disturbed,” said an official of the department.
Wildlife conservationists and nature lovers have time and again flagged certain activities at private resorts, around 70 of which have mushroomed on the fringes of Gorumara in areas of Lataguri and Dhupjhora. Loud music and laser and other lights of higher intensity during social events at resorts lead to sound and visual pollution in the forest area,disturbing the natural rhythm of wildlife habitats, they said.
“There have been instances that dumping of garbage, which includes food waste, outside the resorts, has caused wild animals to get drawn near these resorts. This is yet a point of concern as it can lead to animal depredation in resorts and also leave the animal vulnerable (to human attack),” said a source in the forest department.
Rajendra Jakhar, the chief conservator of forests (wildlife, north), confirmed that the notice had been served. “Our men have been asked to be vigilant. Anybody found violating these curbs will face legal consequences under the Wildlife (Protection) Act,” he said.
Resort owners claimed they adhere to forest department rules. “Tourists come to our properties because of the forest and wildlife. We follow all the necessary rules. If any resort violates the rules, we won’t support it,” said Dibyendu Deb, secretary, Lataguri Resort Owners’ Association.