Illegal villas in critical wilderness

Illegal villas in critical wilderness

The proposed villa site at Bandipur.

The project, called “NSB Wild Hunt Resort”, is being developed near Mangala village along the Bandipur-Mudhumalai road, on a patch of 19.13 acres in the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). The project potentially interrupts the movement of large mammals (including elephant, tigers and other animals).

The project, which will house over 50 villas and 200 cottages once complete, is allegedly in violation of Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act 1986.

Wildlife experts say the project is right on the path used by animals as a corridor to migrate. Such building constructions require the permission of the State Board for Wildlife, National Board for Wildlife, Ministry of Environment and Forests.  Construction work has been initiated without any of the mandatory permits by the Pune-based promoters.

Besides being in the ESZ, the project location comes under the notified buffer zone of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve where construction activities are clearly regulated. Resorts and other properties have been threatening the wildlife habitat in this region for some time now. Some of these resorts are built near natural water bodies and act as barriers for animals when they want to use water, especially during the dry summer months.

The guidelines for ESZs mandate that change of land use from green (orchards, horticulture, etc) to non-green uses need clearance from the Environment Ministry.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests B K Singh confirmed that the proposed villa is in the buffer zone where there is tiger and elephant movement. “This is the place known for human-animal conflicts,” he said.

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