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Boost for eco-tourism; policy soon on tigers

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The state government is set to come out with a policy on Project Tiger areas in Karnataka shortly as per the directions from the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Vinay Luthra, chief executive officer, Karnataka Ecotourism Development Board, declared this at the one-day conference on ‘Eco Tourism Policy and Guidelines’. He said all efforts have been made to finalise eco-tourism strategy and announce guidelines to roll out ambitious initiatives envisaged to make Karnataka a preferred eco-tourism hub.

“We are planning to organise training for volunteers and naturalists from next month. It will help the tourists during their visit to the forest,” he said.

Stating that the government will come out with a policy on the usage of vehicles by resort owners in forest areas, he said the eco-tourism development board has chalked out a plan to award marks (total being 100) to resort owners to facilitate access to forest areas.

“All resort owners have to follow good practices and standards to make them eligible for accreditation. The resorts who avoid plastic and provide employment for locals will get more marks. Any resort to avail the accreditation should get more than 50 marks,” he said.

The ecotourism development board is planning to provide nature education to school children and literature on flora and fauna of the state. Earlier, delivering keynote address, AC Lakshman, former secretary, department of forests, said mature sandalwood is being sold at `60 lakh per tonne and farmers have been earning Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.

“Farmers can earn up to Rs 80,000 from each sandalwood tree annually. It applies to all eco-resorts and stay homes. This is a rare and unique opportunity to the government to make people of Karnataka the richest in the world,” Lakshmana said.

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