Nature lovers hit as forest department hikes fee

The tent fee has been increased from Rs 50 to Rs 1,050

A view of the tents to rest in Anejari nature camp. With the Forest Department hiking the entry and accommodation fee three times more than the earlier fee with effect from February 2011, the nature camps are costing dearer to those who wish to visit and stay overnight in the camps.
 
The three nature camps which come under the Karkala Wildlife Division, namely Bhagavathi nature camp at Kuduremukh, Seethanadi nature camp in Hebri and Anejari nature camp near Kollur have seen a gradual decline in the number of visitors to the camp. The worse affected amongst three is the Anejari nature camp, which has almost failed to attract any visitors since February.

Fee revision

As per the decision taken by the Forest Department, the entry and accommodation fee of the nature camps across the State were revised in February. Accordingly, the entry fee of the camps which was Rs 30 earlier has been hiked to Rs 200 for Indians, while for the foreign visitors it has been hiked from Rs 60 to Rs 1,000!

The Forest Department has been providing necessary accommodation facilities including tents, cottages and dormitories to the nature lovers who desire to stay overnight. But the stay in the nature camp is not easily affordable.

The tent (two beds) fee which was Rs 50 earlier has been hiked to Rs 1,050, while the rent of the forest houses (cottages) has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 1,500.

No visitors

Speaking to Deccan Herald, the Manager in Anejari nature camp said people hardly come to the camp these days. “The Forest Department gave a facelift to all the three nature camps last year, but unfortunately the people think twice before arriving to the camp, due to the hike in the fee,” he said.

The information available with Karkala Wildlife division reveals that 53 people had visited Anejari camp last year in the months of April and May, whereas only 12 people have visited the camp in April 2011.

As per the records, 363 visitors had visited Bhagavati nature camp in April and May last year, while this year it has reduced to 120. As many as 149 people had visited Seethanadi nature camp last year in April and May, while only 90 people have visited the place this year during the same duration.

When asked about the fee revision, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Bangalore) B K Singh said the Department was not able to afford the maintenance of the nature camps. “The Department had not revised the nature camp charges in the last five years. With everything turning expensive today, the Department had no other option but to hike the prices. Moreover, the Department wants only the real nature lovers to visit the camp. The people who are truly interested, will visit the camp no matter what,” he stated.

Despite the hike in the fee, the Department is providing concession to the school students.

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