BENGALURU: It’s just not the highest sporting honour. Locals in Kodagu are now demanding that the name of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, which is officially called Rajiv Gandhi National Park, be restored.
In a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, they have demanded that it continue to be called as Nagarahole or be renamed after Field Marshal K M Cariappa or General K S Thimayya.
Naveen M, a coffee planter, who started the petition, said, “Nagarhole was renamed after Rajiv Gandhi just to appease a political party and a family. If it has to be named after an eminent person, then why not our local heros? We were never keen that it be named after Rajiv Gandhi, the petition was always there. It has now become now a campaign after the Khel Ratna was renamed.”
Many others from Kodagu have supported the call. Col C P Muttanna (retd), from Coorg Wildlife Society said, “We have never called it as Rajiv Gandhi National Park. Everyone has been calling it Nagarahole. Suddenly, one day, we saw the board and the government order on it being renamed.”
However, some conservationists and Forest Department officials feel that instead of focusing on name change, it is important to undertake conservation works to reduce man-animal conflict.