BENGALURU: A popular historical fortress that is home to a number of temples, monuments and shrines, Nandi Hills may soon become a paragliding hub. The closest hill station to Bengaluru, Nandi Hills is an ideal place for the people of the city to unwind in the beauty of nature, although people have been experiencing heavy traffic jams on the way to the hills, specially on weekends. Some even compared it with the bottleneck traffic snarls of Silk Board.
To change this image, the tourism and horticulture department wants to start recreational activities, including paragliding. The destination is also sought after by bird watching groups, as it is home to many endemic bird species and is also an ideal habitat for migratory birds.
The tourism, horticulture, police and other related agencies have given permission to a private company to conduct paragliding from Nandi Hills for three months, starting December 24.
While some conservationists and officials from Karnataka forest department have expressed apprehension as it would have an impact on the migratory birds and could also lead to man- animal conflict, they demand extra caution.
"After a very long time, paragliding is being organised at Nandi Hills. This year, to promote tourism, permission was given to three companies, but none of them could take off because of delay in getting clearance from other agencies. This time again, permission has been given and hopefully it will take off," said Rajendra Kumar Kataria, Principal Secretary of Horticulture department.
Bangalore Aviation and Sports Enterprise (Base) Proprietor, Kumara Swamy, who is organising paragliding, said that it could not be organised till now as they didn’t have clearance from the international airport management.
"Now, approval from DGCA and all government agencies has been procured. Paragliding will start from the fort area belonging to the horticulture department," he added. Chikkaballapur Deputy Commissioner R Latha said permission has been given only till this month end and they will consider for the next three months later.
Arsalan, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chikkaballapur said, "Earlier, people would seek permission for paragliding in Bramhagiri and Skandagiri, stating that Nandi Hills is not suitable. But when permissions were denied, they would settle for Nandi Hills. People are not allowed to enter forest areas or disurb wildlife."