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| Last Updated:14/11/2018

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Ban on vehicles in Shimla catchment area: Golf cart to be pressed into service to make the area pollution-free

The Forest Department has imposed a ban on the plying of vehicles as golf carts will be pressed into service so that no disturbance is caused to the rare wildlife found here.

The ban on the vehicles in the 10 sq km area has come into force from today. The department has already initiated a process of acquiring a golf cart which will be pressed into service to ferry a limited number of tourists in the thick deodar forests in the vicinity of the capital.

“Keeping in mind the importance of the catchment area and keep it completely free of sound or air pollution, we have decided to only allow battery operated or solar-energised golf carts in the area,” said Tarun Sridhar, Principal Secretary, Forest and Revenue.

In fact, Chief Conservator Forest (Wildlife) Lalit Mohan has asked the DFO to stop the entry of all vehicles from today. “We have initiated the process for getting a battery operated golf cart so that there is minimum possible disturbance to red jungle fowl, cheer pheasants, leopards, musk deer, barking deer, goral and sambar found in the catchment area,” said Mohan.

The wildlife wing of the department was allowing restricted number of vehicles inside the sanctuary after charging a fee of Rs 250 per vehicle. The vehicles and visitors were allowed inside up to the Forest Rest House only during the day time as night stay is not allowed here.

The Shimla Water Catchment was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary under a notification issued by the state government under Section 26 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, on October 23,1999, and later re-notified on June 7, 2013. This is probably one of the few sanctuaries in Himachal which is free from habitation and has been preserved since the last century as the catchment area providing water to Shimla.

Nine perennial streams flow from this area, the main ones being Churat Nulla and God Ki Nulla.

GREEN STEPS
 Battery-operated or solar-energised golf cart to be allowed
 Only restricted number of vehicles allowed in the sanctuary after charging a fee of Rs 250 per vehicle
 They can't go beyond Forest Rest House
 Night stay banned in the sanctuary

The Tribune (16-10-2013)