- Dam closed due to leopard scare; feline spotted last evening trying to corner a porcupine
- Revenue loss estimated at Rs. 2 crore due to closure; over 100 small-time vendors hit badly
Srirangapatna: Hundreds of tourists who have been visiting the famed Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam and Brindavan Gardens in Mandya are returning as the tourist spot has remained closed due to leopard scare.
The feline has remained elusive so far and over nine cages have been placed in the North Gate and South Gate of the Dam but the efforts of the Forest Department proved futile.
The leopard was first sighted on Oct. 22 and later, it was spotted a couple of times in the North side of the Dam and even the South entrance.
After repeated sightings, the authorities of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited (CNNL) that manages the Dam decided to shut the reservoir and the gardens for the tourists indefinitely considering their safety. As there is little information regarding the closure, tourists who come from various parts of the country and the world, especially in the evenings and weekends, are returning without witnessing the massive water-holding structure which is an engineering marvel.
Yesterday morning, one of the nine cages that were placed was removed by the Pandavapura Division of the Forest Department as it was needed for another purpose. The cage was placed near the North Gate where the leopard was first spotted. However, the feline made an appearance last evening at 6.45 at the same spot where the CCTV cameras filmed it trying to catch a porcupine.
The leopard was, however, unsuccessful in its attempts to catch the porcupine having sharp quills all over its body. Meanwhile, the CNNL is staring at a revenue loss of over Rs. 2 crore till now as the Dam is closed. Revenue comes from toll collection, entry fee and parking charges. As the Dam has remained closed, it will be difficult for it to mop up revenue unless the leopard is caught.
“The Forest Department removed the cage yesterday morning and the leopard was spotted in the evening at the same spot. We feel that the leopard could have been trapped if the cage was not removed. This is unfortunate,” a CNNL engineer told Star of Mysore.
Meanwhile, hundreds of small-time vendors who sell snacks, eatables and cut fruits in the Dam premises and small-time photographers at Brindavan Gardens are all out of jobs as the Dam is closed for tourists. There are more than 100 stalls in the vicinity and they are out of business since over a month.
As part of the project, over 70 points with Centralised Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) having smart meters and Internet of Things (IoT) controllers are being implemented to integrate all LED lamps so that they can be operated remotely through wireless communication.