Bengaluru: Resort in Bannerghatta, KSPCB fails to act on foresters’ plea

The Bannerghatta National Park, 20 km from the city limits, has again become a victim of greed. A private resort, Hasiru Valley in Survey number 23, Thammanyakanahalli, Anekal, has allegedly encroached 25 acres of the forest land.

The official correspondence between the forest department and other stakeholders reveals how repeated requests by the forest department to the revenue department and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) have been ignored and the Forest Department has been left to run from one office to another to recover the encroached land.

Deputy Conservator of Forest Suresh told Deccan Chronicle, “We have already demarcated the land and erected a stone within our area. To clarify whether the encroached part is revenue or other land, we have written six letters to the tahsildar and requested him to take action against the resort owner.”

Mr Suresh clarified that the forest department does not have any legal rights to initiate criminal proceedings, and that they are still waiting for replies from the KSPCB and Revenue Department to their letters.

“The owner of the resort did not take the ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’ from us. On the pretext of setting up a farmhouse, they have installed tents and we have asked the revenue department to take action,” Mr Suresh said. The resort owner has drawn a ropeway from his property to a hillock inside the BNP which is frequently used by tourists visiting the resort.

According to forest department sources, there is evidence to prove that adventure- seekers have been partying on the hillock, overlooking a saltlick which is frequented by elephants and other herbivores. The resort owner claims that it is a revenue land bought many years ago.

A senior environmentalist, who wished not to be identified, said, “The owner of the resort has built four temporary huts which can accommodate 30 to 40 people. Reportedly, he has installed a music system which plays through the night, disturbing wildlife. The trash mound indicates that tourists have been frequenting the resort. It has worsened the plight of wildlife, especially elephants.”

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