Mysuru: Following repeated incidents of people travelling on the roads that cut through National Parks and Tiger Reserves disturbing animals and indulging in activities like drinking, smoking, taking photos, shooting videos, playing music in their vehicle’s music system and making loud noise, the Forest Department has decided to crackdown on such activities and impose a hefty fine on violators.
Following a complaint by the Conservator of Forests and Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve Ambadi Madhav about the nuisance created by motorists who often halt inside the forests and create a nuisance, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) has ordered imposition of hefty fine on irresponsible travellers and tourists.
The Department order, a copy of which is available with Star of Mysore states that any delayed or early arrival of the vehicles traversing in the roads of protected areas will attract a fine. Tourists, travellers have been barred from stopping inside the forests, blowing horns, feeding animals, overtaking other vehicles, taking pictures, smoking, consuming alcohol, littering and crossing the speed beyond the 35 kilometres per hour mark. All the above actions will attract a hefty fine in view of animal safety and management of the parks.
The order directs the Forest Department staff to note down entry and exit time of each vehicle, delay (which means one has stopped en route) or early exit (because the motorist has been speeding) will invite hefty penalty. The fine has been fixed as Rs. 1,000 for the first hour, Rs. 2,000 per hour for the next two hours, Rs. 3,000 per hour for the next three hours and Rs. 4,000 per hour for the next six hours.
It means, if a motorist is looking for a wild time in the forest will have to shell out Rs. 38,000 if he/ she spends 12 hours in the jungle. The time spent in the jungle will be calculated according to the length of the stretch and the legal top speed of 35 kilometres per hour.
Seven major roads cut through protected forests of Karnataka – Inter-State Highways between Karnataka and Kerala and Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Even though vehicles are allowed to pass through these forest areas only between 6am and 6pm under strict vigilance, vehicles are often seen stopping at regular intervals inside the forest for various purposes.
Apart from roads that cuts through the Bandipur National Park (to Kerala and Tamil Nadu), the rules will apply on Mysuru-Manandawadi Inter-State Highway that runs for 22 km inside Nagarahole Tiger Reserve (Udbur Gate to Bavali Gate), the stretch between Hunsur and Kutta that runs for about 32 kilometres inside Nagarahole Reserve (from Veeranahosahalli Gate to Nanachi Gate) and the road from H.D. Kote to Balele (Kalllahatti Gate to Karmadu Gate) that runs for 20 km inside the Nagarahole Forest.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Ambadi Madhav said that all vehicles that pass through forest areas are registered and tracked through ‘Gasthu’ — an app based on GPS technology. “While allowing vehicles inside the forest, our staff manning the gates at the check posts will inform inmates of vehicles on various restrictions.
They will be told not to cross the 35 kilometre per hour mark that has been arrived at after considering the safety of wildlife. These rules will prevent vehicles from knocking down animals also,” he said.
Department officials say that some motorists go under the trees for a smoke or to consume liquor. Others stop at regular intervals to feed or tease animals and some tourists stop their vehicles to click photographs and shoot videos of wildlife and landscape.
“In doing so, the tourists litter and disturb the wildlife too. Also, they end up jeopardising their lives as wild animals could attack them.
There have been instances when vehicles or passengers are chased by animals,” Ambadi Madhav said.
“We have received many such photographs and videos on social media and trend is rampant. We want to put a full stop to this. If the tourists are interested in seeing the wildlife in action they can come and take the safari trips so that they can shoot as many photos and videos as they like,” he added.
Fine amount, Dos and Dont’s
* One hour delay inside the forest: Rs. 1,000
* Additional hour delay: Rs. 2,000 per hour for 2 hours
* Additional hour delay: Rs. 3,000 per hour for 3 hours
* Additional hour delay: Rs. 4,000 per hour for 6 hours
* Tourists are barred from drinking, smoking, taking photos, shooting videos, playing music in their vehicle stereos and making loud noise
* Time inside the forest area will be calculated at a speed of 35 kilometres per hour
* If a motorist arrives late at the exit gate from the entry gate it means he has stopped inside the forest
* If a motorist arrives early at the exit gate it means he has over-sped
* Rules will apply on roads that cut through Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Nagarahole National Park.