BENGALURU: The Ministry of Environment and Forests has dropped the decision to shift the state government-owned JLR resorts at Kyathadevara Gudi (K Gudi) which is located inside the BRT Tiger reserve. However, this has raised serious concerns as activists claim the resort is running without a proper forest clearance and further, a complaint has been filed with the Central Empowered Committee.
Activists also said there were plans to shift the resorts to the edge of BRT as it was based in a non-tourism zone. Following this, a place close to Punjanur was also identified. But, recently the MoEF stalled its decision to shift the K Gudi Wilderness Camp citing the place as eco-friendly.
Wildlife activist Santosh says, “JLR was directed to obtain forest clearance and then continue their operations. However, suddenly the MoEF has decided not to shift the resort. This is purely a resort and not a homestay. Further, being located inside a tiger reserve, this will set a wrong precedent.”
Citing vested interests for opposing the operations of JLR within this tiger reserve, a senior forest official said, “This camp doesn’t need forest clearance. The land is our own and it is a state government enterprise promoting education and environmental awareness. They are all temporary structures which can be removed anytime. The forest department owns the land and the wilderness camp was developed for educational and recreational purposes.”
He stressed, “This camp is located in a tourism zone and was developed for creating environmental awareness. This is not the only one — we have our own nature camps given to JLR for management at other places too. Earlier too we have faced problems at nature camps when some wildlife groups had opposed similar projects,” the forest official added.
A visitor to the wilderness camp says, “The location is amazing, you can see the valleys and jungles in the front. The deer herds come right up-to the log huts and so does the herd of wild pigs.”
THE Kyathadevara GUDI WILDERNESS CAMP
Spread across forested areas, Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd (JLR) operates 16 resorts across forests in Karnataka. The K Gudi Wilderness Camp is located right inside the BRT Tiger reserve and is on a hillock at an altitude of more than 4,000 feet. Accommodation varies from tents to suites to deluxe rooms to independent cottages and the tariffs are pretty steep ranging from `5,900-8,378 per person and per night.