Jaipur: Shrugging off protest over the proposed increase in the ticket price for Jhalana leopard safari, the Rajasthan forest department has announced new rates for taking tourists on a tour of this reserve forest area.
Tourists will now have to shell out Rs 2200 for a two-and-a-half hour long Jhalana jungle safari. Forest department announced on Saturday that tourists would be banned from taking their own vehicles into the jungle. They would have to hire gypsies to be provided by a private contractor. A gypsy can accommodate a maximum of six people. The gypsy charge will be Rs 19,00, while the entry fee for each tourist will be Rs 50.
The new rates will come into effect from Monday (May 15, 2017).
Earlier, tourists were charged Rs 350 to take their own cars into the jungle. Besides, the forest department charged Rs 100 and Rs 800 per person as entry fee for domestic and foreign tourists respectively. But from April 25, the ticket price will go up dramatically as tourists will have to hire gypsies to be provided by a private contractor.
The decision to increase Jhalana safari booking price was taken two days ago in a meeting between forest department officials and forest minister Gajendra Singh Khinwsar.
“We will begin gypsy safari for Jhalana forest from Monday,” a senior forest department officer told The PinkCity Post.
Wildlife lovers said that the price is exorbitant.
“It is at par which what tourists are charged for Ranthambore and Sariska. The safari track in Jhalana is just 4 km. Compare it to tracks in Ranthambore tiger reserve which are up to 30 km long,” said Mahesh Sharma, a wildlife enthusiast.
The hike was proposed to come into effect from April, it was postponed following protest.
The Rajasthan government is privatizing ecotourism destinations in the state. As part of the project, the forest department has roped in a private contractor to take tourists on forest safari in Jhalana.
Spread over 33 sq km east of Jaipur, the Jhalana forest area is said to have 20 leopards and panthers. Located barely 3.5 km from the World Trade Park, the forest, over the years has become a favourite leopard sighting destination.