Govt halts illegal resorts on Bandipur fringes

Govt halts illegal resorts on Bandipur fringes

MoEF, in its gazette notification dated September 21, 2011, had declared the eco-sensitive zones for the park. It says that the establishment of commercial hotels and resorts in both the ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) has been prohibited.

According to the notification, resorts within zone one of  ESZ (This includes Kanyanapura Elephant Corridor with 15 villages) are prohibited except the already existing establishments as on date of the draft notification dated September 21.

Regulated
“ However, expansion of the existing commercial tourism establishments is to be regulated strictly in accordance with the guidelines for non-forest activities in wildlife habitat,” says the notification.

The notification has also prohibited commercial ventures in Chikkathalalu, Muthigehundi, Nandinathapura and Lakkasoge villages which fall under zone two of ESZ (this includes  108 villages). Several resorts, villas and health centres started mushrooming in and around Bandipur. Several Bangalore and Pune-based entrepreneurs had planned their projects here.

Resort projects were planned in Kebbepura village of Hangala hobli and an ayurvedic tourism project in Bachalli village.

Both these lands were believed to be in critical wildlife corridors that connect Bandipur to Lokkere and Heggavadi forests, which are further connected to Mudhumalai and Satyamangalam sanctuaries in Tamil Nadu.

The opinion of the Forest Department had not been sought in both cases. However now with the MoEF issuing a notification, the future of the resorts is in question.

In addition to this, in its gazette notification the MoEF has also directed the department to prohibit change in land use pattern in zone one, while the felling of trees has to be regulated in accordance with Karnataka Forest Act and Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act.

Apart from resorts, the department has also been directed to prohibit the establishment of large scale green houses, other commercial agriculture  and tissue culture in zone one, while it has been suggested to be regulated in zone two of ESZ.

The widening of State Highways too find a mention here as the department has been instructed by MoEF to prohibit it in zone one, while it has been suggested to be regulated in zone two.

The quarry and mining activities have been banned in both the zones while use of plastics has been regulated.

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