- Green activists write to Tourism Minister against
- Heliport facility from a butterfly-dominated area
Mysore/Mysuru: Three prominent social activists in city have appealed to the State Government to shelve its proposed construction of a helipad next to Lalitha Mahal Palace or on its surroundings in a bid to promote ‘Heli Tourism’ in Mysuru.
In a letter to Tourism Minister C.P. Yogeeshwar, who is also the Environment and Ecology Minister, activists Bhamy V. Shenoy, M.K. Saptha Girish and S. Shyalajesha have said what they need was sustainable development.
“Not superficial and ephemeral attraction provided by helicopter tourism or ropeway project to reach Chamundi Hill or energy guzzling Disneyland type of entertainment at the cost of hundreds of trees which are the lung spaces. In fact, Mysuru is one of the five model cities selected by the UN-habitat to demonstrate how to achieve sustainable development,” they said.
“We have studied the bio-diversity surrounding Lalitha Mahal Hotel. It was true that vegetation does not consist of hundred-year-old trees. But it is a home to 180 species of butterflies. They include the State Butterfly which is Southern Birdwing, the biggest in India. Besides there are many rare ones like Malabar Banded Peacock, Scarce Shot Silverline, Indigo Flash, Red Flash, Common Shot Silverline, Red Helen, Lime Swallow Tail, Striped Pierrot, Western Striped Albatross, etc.,” they wrote.
In addition, there is also the annual migration of the Blue Tiger, Common Crow and Albatross Butterflies from the Western Ghats to the Eastern Ghats. This is the main place for their congregation. It is because of about 40 species of host plants which are important for the breeding of butterflies. This area can be considered as ‘natural museum’ of butterflies, they opined.
They pointed out that this place was also the sanctuary for several types of birds. “By one count there were 77 different types of birds all through the year. They include important winter visitors like the Golden oriole, Brown shrike, Warblers, Gray wagtail etc., with the common birds like Barbets, Kingfishers, Gray Hornbill, Parakeets etc. to name a few.
By preserving this space as a natural museum of butterflies and birds, they can attract more tourists than through heli-tourism which will end up destroying this vegetation. Clearing the vegetation near Lalitha Mahal palace to build another helipad is tantamount to a criminal act of destroying green coverage.
Activists have suggested the following 3 alternatives if the Government was under pressure to promote Heli Tourism:
To request the Wadiyar family to lease out existing place.
To build it on a vacant land available at Karnataka Exhibition Ground as landing space required was only about 10,000 square feet.
To use Mysore Airport at Mandakalli — all over the world, airports are used for helicopter landing and Mysore Airport is not all that far away, they said.