Samithi alleges VGKK of violating forest Act

Addressing a news conference here, Samithi president K Veerabhadraswamy alleged that Kendra is for commercial purpose and not to promote eco-tourism. It would not help  in the uplift of tribals in the region. The Samithi will move court questioning permission being given for the kendra and also petitition to Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde demanding a detailed probe. The forest Act does not allow resort kind activities within forests.

The government rejected the application of Sudarshan to start eco tourism on the ground that such activities are not allowed inside forests in 2007. The Supreme Court directed all State Government not to give permission to open resorts in forests in next 50 years. Even Forest Department has not given permission for VGKK to open this Kendra.

 However,  Sudarshan started this Kendra under the idea of promotion of eco-tourism activities and obtained permission to establish it outside forests.  Interestingly, tourism department had sanctioned Rs 1.41 crore for construction. Eight acres sanctioned for this Kendra on survey number 4/ 68 has been registered under one person’s name which amounts to violation of Forest Act.

As per eco-tourism policy, only governmental and non -government organisation can hold eco-tourism activities, but VGKK is a voluntary organisation and not a non- governmental organisation.  Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh is this Kendra on October 7.  

Veerabhdaraswamy threatened to launch agitation if the government fails to stop inauguration of the kendra.

Refutes allegations

Meanwhile, Sudarshan said that ‘Gorukhana Kendra’ has been registered under the name of Karuna Trust. “There is no truth in whatever charges made by Veerabhadraswamy”.

He told Deccan Herald he had sought permission to hold safari and trekking by the Kendra; but it was rejected by the government. This Kendra is opened with financial assistance of Forest Department, Jungle lodges and Eco-tourism Development Committee ( EDC).  “Initially, the land was purchased  in his name, subsequently it was transferred to Karuna Trust.

This Kendra is constructed on revenue land and not on forest land. So, there is no need to obtain permission from forest department. The the revenue of the Kendra will be spent on development of tribals in the region”. he said.

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