The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday imposed a ban on all commercial activities operating at the royal Nahargarh Fort and the Naharargh Wildlife Sanctuary in Jaipur. All businesses including restaurants, hotels and bars, in the reserve forest area and fort have been declared illegal by the NGT. Reportedly, the Tribunal has also issued an order for the immediate evacuation for all such ventures.
Ban imposed in accordance with a PIL filed against encroachments
Nestled in the Nahargarh Wildlife Sanctuary, the fort attracts many tourists to Rajasthan for its serenity and wilderness and in turn, it has also become a hub of several commercial activities. According to a PIL filed by renowned environmentalist Rajendra Tiwari, the scale of these businesses was spreading to the forest - ringing alarms for the natural open spaces here.
In terms of autonomy, the Nahargarh Fort belongs to the Archeological Department, while the commercial activities are practised under the authority of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC). Reportedly, the new order of the NGT reprimands both the agencies and ordains them to vacate all businesses in the forest. This also includes liquor shops, restaurants and parking lots in the fort.
Since the fort is government property, belonging to the archaeological department, any sort of commercialization by the RTDC is strictly prohibited. The NGT order was moved only after a thorough inspection of the tourist movement in the area and verification of claims regarding the encroachments, highlighted reports.
-With inputs from TOI.