The Uttarakhand forest department has put a cap on entry of tourists to Valley Of Flowers (VOF), allowing only 300 visitors per day to the world heritage site in Chamoli disrtrict. The move comes after the Uttarakhand high court had in November last year directed the state government to fix quotas for visitors coming to the designated national park.
The forest department will also impose a cash fine of Rs 10,000 on those found littering the area. Until now, no penalty was imposed on those found scattering rubbish in the area. The high court had in its order in November said that the entire valley be declared a plastic-free zone with only the use of water bottles being permitted. It had proposed an environmental penalty of Rs 10,000 on any person causing threat, damage and harm to the flowers and vegetation in the valley.
Chief wildlife warden, DVS Khati, told TOI that tourists would also have to sign an undertaking before entering the VOF stating that they would not harm the flora and fauna or litter the park. “Following Uttarakhand high court’s order banning polythene in VOF, I have issued directions in this regard to the concerned divisional forest officer.
To ensure compliance, tourists carrying plastic water bottles will have to deposit Rs500 as security amount, which will be returned to them after they show that they have brought the bottle with them at the time of exit,” Khati said.