Wildlife lovers to pay ‘camera fee’ at Jhalana forest reserve in Jaipur
Jaipur: The forest department has proposed to charge visitors for videography of panthers and wildlife at Jhalana forest reserve. Rs 600 from Indian tourists and Rs 900 from foreign tourists will now be charged for the entry of video cameras at Jhalana. The department clarified that the charges won’t applicable to still photography. The decision comes in a follow-up of price hikes in ticket prices and a ban on entry of private vehicles.
Price hikes and privatization of the Jhalana forest reserve is costing an average tourist. Now, charging Rs 600 from Indian tourists and Rs 900 from foreign tourists is likely to invite protests for the Rajasthan Forest Department, as did the earlier decisions.
Earlier in May, the Rajasthan Forest Department had announced new rates for booking a Gypsy and entry into the reserve, while banning entry of private vehicles. The new rates were as follows:
Gypsy charge: 16,00
Gypsy entry fee: 300
Visitor (per person) entry fee: Rs 50 for domestic tourist, Rs 300 for foreign tourist and Rs 20 for students.
Earlier, tourists were charged Rs 350 to take their own vehicles but following the ban, officials argued that the ban was necessary as the entry of private vehicles was not good for the ecological system of the forest area.
Jhalana is a limited forest area which doesn’t even have the status of a sanctuary yet and it seems the forest department has no concrete reason for the price hikes. The department has time and again claimed that there is no single person or an institution that is a beneficiary of these decisions and that ‘it is in the interest of public and wildlife’.
The Jhalana forest area is spread over 33 sq. km east of Jaipur. It is said to have 20 leopards and panthers and has become a favorite destination for leopard sighting.