Forest dept plays eco card to evict resort near BNP

Forest dept plays eco card to evict resort near BNP

Picture for representation only

After all attempts to vacate the Hasiru Valley resort abutting the Bannerghatta National Park boundary failed, the Forest Department is now playing the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) card.

“We surveyed the property on Saturday. There is no encroachment. The resort shares its boundary with BNP and stands on a gomal land. It clearly falls in ESZ where resorts are not allowed. It is outside the forest boundary so we wrote to the Tahsildar to take action. Since 2012 we have written to them four times but to no avail,” said BNP Deputy Conservator of Forest, Suresh. DH has access to these copies.

Since the ESZ around the Park is yet to be defined by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it is marked as per the Supreme Court order, which states that the area within 10 kms radius of a National Park should be maintained as ESZ. No commercial activities, including resorts, are allowed within this area.

However, Mahadevaiah, Tahsildar, Anekal said that he was unaware of any such correspondence. “I am not aware of the resort or any letters sent by the forest department. They can send me fresh copies or I will have to trace them out.”

The forest officials have now sent a fresh notice to the owner, Srinivas, asking him to explain the ownership, activities on ground, permissions and other documents. “We had asked him for all the papers on September 15 but he has given us irrelevant replies. We are now giving him a final chance, after which the property will be vacated as it falls under the ESZ,” said a forest official.

This notice was sent after 10 years of sending notices and requests to the resort owner and to the revenue department did not yield any results. 

The issue gained momentum only recently after a few conservationists raised the matter. Forest officials are also questioning the legality of the property as the owner has not obtained any clearance from the department.

Though Hasiru Valley’s website mentions that it includes a resort, spa, adventure sports and luxury living, Srinivas admitted not taking permission for the resort. “It is an inherited joint family property. We have been doing agriculture on the land. The resort is on survey number 179. We also conduct sports workshop. For what should I take permission? I have not taken any resort permission,” he said. 

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