BENGALURU: Encroachment has once again hit the Nagarhole National Park with local tribals reportedly grabbing 20 acres in Kalhalla Range to put up temporary dwellings.
Kalhalla Range in Karmad section is a dense, verdant bamboo jungle frequented by tigers, elephants, and other animals.
Forest Department officials said they are trying to resolve the problem by negotiating with the encroachers and demolishing the temporary structures.
A few days ago, 70 tribal families had set up seven to eight structures, using polythene materials and bamboo, at Thatekere which is in the fringe area of Nagarhole’s Kalhalla Range.
Wildlife conservationists said this was an attempt by the locals to occupy nearly 20 acres and possibly start a new settlement in the tiger reserve. Expressing concern over the issue, they said if the wildlife authorities do not take steps to sort it out soon, there will be serious trouble when the settlement is fully established.
They said this is a case of open encroachment in a protected area and that there is a network of locals operating occasionally to grab the land in Nagarhole.
“The National Park is extremely vulnerable and the existing laws — the Forest Rights Act — offer the possibility of regularisation of occupancy only if it was done before 2005. There are already so many families put up here and waiting for their settlement but any new structures coming up is not acceptable,” they said.
Manoj Kumar, chief conservator of forests, Kodagu, who is holding additional charge of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, told Express that they had demolished the temporary structures put up by the tribals of the region.
“We demolished the structures yesterday and prevented them from taking up further construction. We will provide them with an alternative space. The structures came up in the fringe area and not inside the core zone of the park...We will not allow any structures to come up in the park as after 2005, no such developments can be allowed,” he said.
Reacting to the land grab, Praveen Bhargav of Wildlife First said, “The encroachments in Tattekere and Gaddehadi is a matter of serious concern. Unless senior officers closely monitor and act, Nagarhole faces a very serious threat.”