Karnataka: Vehicle entry fee to come in handy for tiger reserves

The revenue is said to help four tiger reserves to pay the wages of contract employees and also take up conservation work
Last Updated : 12 June 2023, 00:11 IST

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From June 1, the Karnataka Forest Department has started collecting 'entry fees' from private and goods vehicles entering the state through its tiger reserves. The revenue is said to help four tiger reserves to pay the wages of contract employees and also take up conservation work.

A letter written by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife & Head of Forest Force) Rajiv Ranjan under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 section 28 (2) instructs the field directors of tiger reserves and protected areas to collect an entry fee of Rs 20 for light motor vehicles and Rs 50 for heavy motor vehicles.

Karnataka has five tiger reserves. Of them, four — Kali, Bandipur, Nagarhole and Biligirirangana reserves — share borders with Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa. Every day, thousands of vehicles pass through the interstate check posts. The tiger reserves expect to earn Rs 3 lakh to Rs 25 lakh a month.

The additional revenue will come in handy for the tiger reserves, which for the last two years have been receiving only half of the funds from the central government under 'Project Tiger'.

Sources in the forest department told DH that the five tiger reserves, including Bhadra, should receive an average of Rs 60 crore annually. However, currently, they are receiving Rs 30-40 crore in two instalments. The delay, due to technical glitches, is resulting in delayed salaries to staff and limited conservation work.

Bandipur National Park Field Director Ramesh Kumar said, "In spite of our repeated requests, people tend to litter the national park. Staffing the entire stretch and clearing plastic is becoming difficult due to limited workforce. With the revenue generated through the entry fee, we can hire more boots on the ground and ensure the safety of animals."

Nagarhole National Park Field Director Harsha Kumar said CCTV cameras would be installed through the funds generated from the fee. This would ensure proper monitoring of vehicle movement (entry and exit time).

The tiger reserve foundations are planning to use the ‘green cess’ for training locals and the eco-development committee to generate regular income and sustainable development in the area.

Initially, the forest personnel faced some resistance from motorists, especially vehicles with Karnataka registration.

Speaking to DH, Rajiv Ranjan said several other states have been using this entry fee to augment their revenues, and Karnataka has decided to tap into this resource now.

"We will use the revenue generated from the entry fee for forest conservation," he said and added that currently, fee is being collected only at interstate border check posts. Later, it will be extended to other forest areas, he said.

Published 11 June 2023, 19:13 IST

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