Mysore/Mysuru: The Forest Department’s efforts to impose penalties for littering and waste dumping on Chamundi Hill are yielding positive results, with the Department collecting Rs. 66,500 from Sept. 6 to Sept. 29 — 24 days.
In August this year, the Department issued a notification announcing a ban on littering and implementing various restrictions atop Chamundi Hill starting from Sept. 1. These measures are in accordance with Sections 76 and 99(1) of the Karnataka Forest Act 1963 and Karnataka Forest Rules 1969.
From Sept. 1 to Sept. 5, individuals violating these regulations were issued warnings and penalties were not imposed during this period. The enforcement of penalties began on Sept. 6. To oversee compliance with the ban, Department Officers and staff patrol the area in vehicles, monitoring devotees visiting Chamundeshwari Temple and vendors of puja items who previously used plastic carry bags.
In the initial days, 134 ‘Zero Fine’ receipts were issued to offenders, along with pamphlets detailing the violations and associated fines. Notable collections include Rs. 500 from one individual who improperly disposed food packets, snacks and plastic waste and Rs. 37,000 was collected from 37 vehicles that had parked in No Parking Zones.
The Department also received Rs. 29,000 from 58 individuals who trespassed into the protected forest area, resulting in a total revenue of Rs. 66,500 from 230 offences, including 134 ‘Zero Fine’ cases. Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Mysuru Circle Dr. K.N. Basavaraju told Star of Mysore that their intention is to create awareness on protecting a fragile environment and Mysuru’s natural bounty.
Fines and penalties
Trespassing into Chamundi Hill Reserve Forest: Rs. 500; Haphazard parking on Hill Road: Rs. 1,000; Disposing food packets, plastic covers, water bottles on Hill Road: Rs. 500; Shopkeepers selling plastic covers on the Hill: Rs. 2,500 for the first offence, Rs. 5,000 for the second offence and Rs. 15,000 for the third offence, with a recommendation to suspend the trade licence; Outsiders (non-residents) entering the Hill between 10 pm and 6 am: Rs. 2,500; Individuals caught with liquor and cigarettes: Rs. 5,000.
The regulation follows the order of National Green Tribunal State Committee Chairman Justice Subhash B. Adi during his meeting in city on July 14, 2023, to make Chamundi Hill totally plastic-free by Dasara.
Chamundi Hill is a reserved forest and a crucial part of Mysuru’s green belt, designated as an eco-sensitive zone with delicate biodiversity. The Forest Department has taken proactive measures to uphold environmental laws and plans to rigorously enforce these rules as thousands of devotees are expected to visit Chamundi Hill during the upcoming Dasara festivities.
Shopkeepers and kiosk owners have been provided with informational brochures and leaflets outlining the do’s and don’ts on Chamundi Hill. Leaflets have also been distributed to the general public and devotees who visit the hilltop. In addition, prominent display boards have been installed to raise awareness among visitors.