Jungle Raj in children's nature education camps
Blessed with the mountains and beaches, Karnataka is hot travel spot. This state is home to Agumbe forest that offers the best jungle camp tours in the state.
Bengaluru: Blessed with the mountains and beaches, Karnataka is hot travel spot. This state is home to Agumbe forest that offers the best jungle camp tours in the state.
It offers nature camp. Sources said the camps in the forest area that is supposed to be used for nature education are now being used for commercial tourism activities.
The Nature Camp, dedicated to the education of school children, has been taken over by Jungle Lodge and Resorts (JLRs), making it impossible for school students to focus on environmental studies, forests and wildlife.
Wildlife activists say only 10 per cent is being used for nature education, while the remaining part is used by JLR for commercial activities. This is in clear violation a Supreme Court order. The SC order states that "forest rest houses and inspection bungalows within the forest area including the protected areas, shall not be transferred to private and commercial entities in the name of public-private partnership or by whatever name such an arrangement is called, for promotion of any form of tourism including eco-tourism."
Activists claim that state's wildlife sanctuaries like Sithanadi, Bhimghada, Sakrebaili and outdoor camps at the Bhagwati Nature Camp in Kudremukh National Park are more expensive which the common public cannot afford. So if this continues, entire wildlife will be converted into commercial entity.
Some forest department officials told The Hans India said, "Nature camps are located within a wildlife sanctuary or a national park and require clearance from the National Wildlife Board under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1972 and permission from the state wildlife council. Hence the move to vest the management of the property with Jungle Lodges and Resorts is illegal. Also, these camps have been eliminated using public funds to provide nature education to rural children. But now rural children will be losing this opportunity".
Recently, the forest department had decided to take over the management of the Misty Trail Camp near Gopinatham Nature Camp in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamarajanagar district. The move faced stiff resistance. Many activists say, as per the government policy of the forest department, public tents and dormitories should be given on a fixed rent. The forest department cannot cap it.
The Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over 1,027 sq km, abuts the forest region of Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu and it is critical to ensure that the region surrounding the village remains out of bounds for the public. Gopinatham is the birthplace of brigand Veerappan and the 'Mystery Trails' is a Forest Department initiative to let tourists follow his trail. There are many nature camps in our sanctuary and national parks which are specially
for the children. So now the government is planning it into a commercial establishment
in the name of tourism
development. So, it's not fair to look at all wildlife areas in tourism point," said Yoganand, a wildlife expert.