- Proposal sent to State Government for approval; tenders to be called soon, say officials
- KRS closure causing irreparable damage to Dam reputation; hard to regain fame, says MLA
Srirangapatna: In a bid to win back tourists to the now shut Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam and Brindavan Gardens and to prevent leopards from straying inside the Dam premises, the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited (CNNL) has drawn up an ambitious plan to erect a fence of 12 to 15 ft at areas where the Dam boundary meets forest areas.
CNNL manages the Dam and a proposal to build the fence has been sent by the higher authorities to the State Government for approval. Though senior officers of the Dam were not available for comments, official sources told Star of Mysore that the fence will be laid up to a distance of three to four kilometres in those places where the Dam boundary wall is adjacent to the forest area and thick vegetation.
“This is to prevent leopards from straying inside the Dam premises, especially the Brindavan Gardens where thousands of tourists come on a day-to-day basis. Now the Dam is closed for the tourists and the Forest Department is unable to trap the leopard. We are desperately trying to get approvals from the Government so that we can win back tourists,” an officer said on condition of anonymity.
“We are awaiting directions from the Forest Department to reopen the Dam to visitors but the Department is not responding to our pleas,” he added.
CNNL Superintending Engineer (Mandya Circle) Anand told reporters yesterday that the task of clearing bushes around the Dam is underway in consultation with the Forest Department. Bushes and shrubs are the favourite places for leopards to take shelter while hunting. “We have sent the proposal to fence to the Government and tenders will be called as soon as the approval is granted,” he said.
However, the fencing proposal up to 12 to 15 ft has been criticised as leopards are known to jump beyond that height. “A leopard is a powerful animal and is known to leap over 20 feet and can jump up to 10 feet into the air. Fencing up to 15 ft is not at all sufficient,” said wildlife experts.
Stray dogs caught
The CNNL has also taken another step to lure the elusive leopard into the cages placed at points where the feline was sighted earlier. They are now catching stray dogs that are roaming in and around Brindavan Gardens to prevent the leopard from preying on them.
Last Thursday, more than 20 stray dogs were caught in and around the vicinity. As stray dogs are easy prey to the leopard, and officers feel that if the stray dogs moved from the area, then naturally the leopard too will stay away from the cage trap.
“Also, if the strays are not around, the leopard will not get its food easily and will be lured into the bait placed inside the cages,” an officer said. However, footage from CCTV cameras have captured the leopard moving close to a cage but did not walk in despite live bait placed inside the cage.
Image of KRS has to be carefully guarded: Srirangapatna MLA
Reacting over the issue of the closure of the famed KRS Dam and Brindavan Gardens for more than a month, Srirangapatna MLA Ravindra Srikantaiah blamed the State Government, the authorities of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited (CNNL) and the Forest Department for inaction. “Closing the Dam for such a long period will cause irreparable damage to its reputation. It is unfortunate that the State Government is not concerned about the same, he added.
“Officials have not made any sincere attempt so far to capture the elusive leopard. Local officials have been given the responsibility of capturing the feline but they are sitting helpless and the higher officers are not bothered,” he said.
“If the fame and reputation of the Dam built over several decades is lost, it is difficult to regain the same. We have to carefully guard the Dam’s image as apart from being a tourist spot, the Reservoir is a lifeline of people,” he said.
The Government too is not serious about the Dam. “We have two Ministers K. Gopalaiah and K.C. Narayanagowda who are only focussed on K.R. Pet but are neglecting other parts of Mandya. They are only working to meet their self-interests rather than serving public interest. I will raise the Dam issue in the Assembly,” he added.