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According to the policy, it would be mandatory to involve the forest department in every step of the trek – from organising to choosing the route to setting the team size.

Kuranganis aftermath TN govt to introduce new policy for trekkers
news Policy Friday, August 17, 2018 - 09:15

The Tamil Nadu government will soon table a new policy for trekkers and organisations that conduct adventure treks to the hills. The policy, which is in its final stages of drafting by the Department of Forests and Environment, will be the rulebook that would regulate the ecotourism industry in the state.

According to a report, the policy makes it compulsory for the organisers of treks to register themselves with the Forest department and not just organise treks online. The policy, which is expected to be released in a week, was prepared by a team of officials after studying the trekking policies in other states.

The new policy will also place restrictions on the routes taken by the organisations and on the number of participants at a time.

The move comes after the Kurangani forest fire accident, that killed around 23 people who were on a trekking trip to the area in Theni in March. The inquiry report on the accident was submitted by Atulya Misra, the Revenue and Disaster Management Principal Secretary, who was tasked with the job of probing into the incident.

The 125-page report blamed field-level officers of being totally unaware of the number of trekkers who were trapped inside the forest, when the fire broke out in Kurangani Hills in Bodi range in Theni district on March 11, reports said.

Atulya Misra’s report also highlighted certain lapses on the part of the forest department officials.

Forest Minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan told reporters that the Misra report would be made public soon and that the government is studying it. He also said that Tamil Nadu has a huge eco-tourism potential with hundreds of designated nature trails and that the new ecotourism policy lays emphasis on regulating tourist safety.

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