Surprise visit to BBP leaves minister fuming

Surprise visit to BBP leaves minister fuming

Minister R Shankar during a surprise visit to the Bannerghatta Biological Park on Sunday.

For the Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister R Shankar, a surprise visit to the Bannerghatta Biological Park on Sunday turned to be a frustrating experience, according to reports.

Shankar was greeted by poor infrastructure and a frustrating wait for a safari ride at his maiden visit to BBP.

The minister, accompanied by 15 people, was upset with the BBP staff for making him wait for almost 30 minutes to enjoy the Jumbo Safari (lion, tiger, herbivore and sloth bear). He is said to have not anticipated a huge rush at the zoo on a Sunday.

According to the sources, the minister’s ordeal began well before he reached the BBP. Shankar had planned to reach the zoo at 1 pm but landed there only by 4 pm, due to a massive traffic jam on the narrow road—untarred and filled with potholes—leading to the parking area of the zoo.

However, as soon as he reached the BPP, he is said to have rushed to the zoo management office, held a discussion with the officials and planted a sapling outside the office. He also inspected the giraffe and the zebra enclosure.

Shankar is said to have lost his cool after he was made to wait for 30 minutes for a safari vehicle to be arranged. Though the reports claim that he pulled up the officials for this, the deputy director of BBP, Kushalappa says otherwise: “This is incorrect. We did not know of his visit. All the arrangements for him and his group for the safari were made immediately after he told us that he wishes to take it. He also visited the butterfly park.”

Another official said: “The crowd needed to be managed, especially since it was raining. We arranged for a private vehicle for the minister. But he decided to take the normal KSTDC safari bus as the whole group wanted to go together. So the tourists were made to wait to so that the minister could enjoy their safari.

On holidays and weekends, the park receives around 10,000 visitors. However, on Sunday around 15,000 tickets were sold. This is said to be the highest for the year.

Despite repeated attempts, Shankar was not available for a comment.