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23 May 2017

Green court glare on Buxa tourism

TT, Siliguri, May 22: The National Green Tribunal has issued a directive to the state departments of tourism and forest to file affidavits mentioning whether private and government lodges, hotels and resorts are operating in an illegal manner in the Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district.
The order was issued on an application filed by Subhas Datta, a Calcutta-based environmentalist, last year, alleging that illegal accommodations had come up in and around the reserve.
A bench of the tribunal comprising Justice S.P. Wangdi and Professor P.C. Mishra, issued the directive on May 17.
In the order, it has also been mentioned that both the departments will have to furnish a list of restaurants, resorts and other similar facilities, both private and government, operating in the area.
"They shall also ascertain as to whether necessary statutory clearances have been obtained by such establishments," the order said.
A tour operator, based in Alipurduar, said over 100 such private facilities had mushroomed in and around Buxa in the past five-six years and most of them did not have permission from the forest department. "These facilities have come up on a license issued by local panchayats," he said.
The bench will hear the case again on July 27.

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