BENGALURU: Tourists traversing across the two highways of Bandipur are now paying a fine of Rs 1,000 for violating the recent norms introduced inside protected areas in Karnataka.
The recent government order — imposing steep fines of Rs 1,000-2,000 on tourists taking selfies and photos, feeding animals, smoking inside the reserve or getting down from their vehicles when traversing a tiger reserve or a national park has borne fruit with a marginal decrease in violations in the last one and a half months.
In fact, every year, during April-May (the tourist season), major violations are reported from Bandipur Tiger reserve which sees the maximum rush of tourists. With increasing incidents of violations reported on the Mysuru-Mananthavady and Gundlupet-Sultan Bathery highways, the state forest department imposed a minimum fine of Rs 1,000 for any kind of violation starting from April second week.
Since the implementation of this order, the Bandipur authorities have been collecting nearly Rs 12,000-15,000 per day by levying an average fine of Rs 1,000. On an average, five to six cases are reported from these two highways.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Ambady Madhav, Conservator of Forests and director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, said, “Presently, we are levying Rs 1,000 for all types of cases and we are sure this will act as a deterrent in the days to come. Further, our staff give pamphlets/brochures containing information on dos and don’ts at the entry point about violations and fines to the tourists. They are supposed to read it and hand over the pamphlets back at the exit point. Now, they do not have the excuse of claiming that they did not know about the fines or violations.”
Recent cases of violations that have been reported from this tiger reserve include feeding fast food items like Kurkure and pop corn to sambar and deer, getting down from the vehicle for a smoke, and posing for a family photo with animals and taking selfies unmindful of the risks.