NTCA steps in over illegal resort in Kali Tiger Reserve

Wildlife activists want authorities to survey tourism-related properties and take appropriate action if they are found to have broken the law
Last Updated : 04 May 2023, 21:32 IST

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The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has written to the Chief Wildlife Warden of Karnataka to furnish a status report on an illegal resort in Anmod village in the Castle Rock Wildlife Range of the Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR).

The letter, dispatched on April 27, has once again shone light on the menace of illegal structures in the KTR, a development brought on by unregulated tourism that is putting tiger habitats under tremendous strain.

Wildlife activists want authorities to survey tourism-related properties and take appropriate action if they are found to have broken the law.

Sources in the forest department claim that there are six to eight resorts, homestays and farm stays that are functioning illegally after the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary (now part of KTR) was notified in 2011.

While all of them are functioning on private land, sources say they have not taken the necessary permission as per the Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ) norms and do not follow the National Tiger Conservation Authority Tourism Guidelines.

Environmentalists allege that the building in Anmod village located in Joida taluk of Uttara Kannada District has not been removed despite a written instruction by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife) seven years ago to phase out illegal resorts.

Though the resort stopped functioning six years ago, the building has not been demolished resulting in the fragmentation of the tiger corridor, they say.

NTCA's direction came in response to a representation given by wildlife conservationist Giridhar Kulkarni.

He said the Castle Rock region, which is part of the Dandeli Sanctuary, is part of the larger tiger landscape comprising protected areas like Kali Tiger Reserve, Bhimgad Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, Mhadei Sanctuary and adjoining reserve forests. Giridhar said the area is already under threat from highways and railways.

“The region is also witnessing threat from unregulated tourism, which could be detrimental to the survival of tigers and its habitats,” he said.

He added that the forest department should conduct a complete survey of all the tourism establishments in the region and take appropriate action if they are operating illegally.

KTR Director Maria Christu Raja D claimed that two resorts and two homestays are functioning in private land enclosures within the limits of the Castle Rock range. All these have been established before the declaration of the sanctuary.

“I have sought for licence documents of these properties and a status report from RFO Castle Rock range to check for any violations,” he said. “The said property has not been in use for the last six years. As the building is on private land, we have not taken demolition work,” said Raja.

Published 04 May 2023, 18:56 IST

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