The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts in Uttar Pradesh will reopen for tourists from November 1 in order to boost tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Field Director of DTR, Sanjay Kumar Pathak while quoted by news agency PTI said, “Strict COVID protocols for the tourists as well as those visiting DTR have been imposed this season starting November 1. Any violation of the protocol would be taken seriously.”
Normally, the tourist season in Dudhwa starts on November 15 and concludes on June 15 every year.
Due to the unprecedented situation following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Dudhwa had to be closed mid-session on March 22 during the last tourist season.
The routine tourist season last year had also remained disturbed due to heavy rains and waterlogged corridors. This had affected the revenue of the park, though the almost zero tourist activities helped wild animals to reclaim their territories and rights without any hindrance, DTR officials said.
“Only those tourists clearing thermal scanning and having no symptoms of COVID-19 infection would be provided entry into the park premises. Each and every person entering the DTR, whether they are tourists, guides, or visitors, would have to put on masks all time,” Pathak said, adding, any violation of this would lead to a monetary fine.
As per COVID guidelines of the UP government, tourists in the 11 to 64 years age-group would be allowed into the national park, he said, adding that entry of tourists below 10 years and above 65, those with co-morbidities and pregnant women would remain restricted.
Pathak said only two tourists would be allowed to stay in a Dudhwa hut, which would be sanitized daily at the expense of the tourists.
He further stated that in order to maintain social distancing, elephant climbing would remain banned this season while in the Jungle Safari vehicle, only four tourists excluding the driver and the guide would be allowed to ride.
Pathak said no tourists would be allowed to walk during the jungle safari. He said the tourists would not be permitted to step out of their vehicles during jungle safari and their vehicle would be sanitized before and after every trip.
He urged tourists to observe rules for their own safety as well as that of the wildlife.