Now Pay Rs 50 each to visit Tiger Hill

Now Pay Rs 50 each to visit Tiger Hill
Tourists visiting Tiger Hill, Darjeeling’s famous sunrise point, for a glimpse of the Kanchenjungha have to shell out Rs 50 each.
The forest department’s decision to introduce the entry fee has drawn objections from tour operators who fear they would have to foot the expense for all those who have already booked their Puja holidays.
The travel agents are already at loggerheads with police over restrictions on the number of vehicles travelling to Tiger Hill every day.
Forest officials said they had started collecting the Rs 50 fee on September 15 since Tiger Hill falls within the Senchel Wildlife Sanctuary.

The chief wildlife warden of the state is authorised under the Wildlife (Protection) Act to charge entry fee in protected areas, the officials said.
“The initiative has been taken also to increase the revenue collection, around 40 per cent of which will be distributed among joint forest management committees that are run by people living in forest villages. The funds can be used for development activities in their areas,” said Jiju Jeaesper J., the divisional forest officer of Darjeeling. There are 31 forest villages under the division.
Travel agents, however, alleged that the decision had not been announced and they had not been consulted.
Suresh Periwal, who has been included in the “hall of fame” of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, and Samrat Sanyal, general secretary of the Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network, said the sudden imposition of the entry fee would hit travel agents hard.
“We submit quotations of the itinerary for this season in March-April. Now, we have no option but to pay from our pockets,” said Periwal, who deals largely with international tourists.
Sanyal said tourism industry stakeholders should have been consulted. “This can cause confusion among tourists. Those who have already booked their trips through travel operators might refuse to pay the additional money. This would mean that the operators would have to bear the additional financial burden for the (Puja) season,” he said.
The Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents (DATA) and the West Bengal Tourism Forum also criticised the decision.
“People are being charged to see wildlife. When there is no wildlife for tourists to view, I think the entry fee (at Tiger Hill) might amount to extortion,” said Pradip Lama, DATA general secretary.

https://www.telegraphindia.com

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Tourists visiting Tiger Hill, Darjeeling’s famous sunrise point, for a glimpse of the Kanchenjungha have to shell out Rs 50 each. The forest department’s decision to introduce the entry fee has drawn objections from tour operators

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