BENGALURU: Soon after cabinet gave its nod for creating ropeway and constructing five star hotel in Jog Falls, environmentalists and even officials from forest and tourism department are opposing the decision.
They state that the fragile Western Ghats in Shivamogga should not be disturbed as developmental works in the sensitive area will trigger more environmental damages. "The government is thinking of merriment of tourists at the cost of the fragile eco- system. Its a perennial forest, but not a perennial falls. There is high percentage of floral and faunal endemism which will be lost with the works being undertaken by the government," Subhashchandra MD, assistant consultant, CES, IISc said.
"The increasing concretisation of areas in Shivamogga and around Jog Falls, will only reduce the beauty of the falls over time as the natural beauty and water holding capacity will come down. The government also has forgotten that it is the habitat of the endemic Lion Tail Macaque," he added.
Officials from tourism department pointed there are better and more beautiful falls in the state, but this falls has lot of importance, because of political reasons. Also the area has been well connected by roads. But it does not need so much attention. Instead attention can be given to improve approachability to other falls. The landscape here is natural and should not be tampered with any more.
Cabinet approved a Rs 116 crore project for construction of five star hotel and rope way at Jog Falls. This is apart from the Rs 185 crore, already approved civil works in and around Jog Falls. Both these works are being undertaken under public private partnership.
They pointed that Karnataka government, must take cue from central government’s recent rejection to Kerala government’s proposal to undertake rope way in national park.
"Already the area is under threat and is already seeing a tourism influx. No carrying capacity study has been done on the area and now concretising the area will only make matters worse. The government has approved the demolishing of heritage PWD bunglow for constructing five star hotel," pointed a tourism official, seeking anonymity.
"The bunglow was not listed in the heritage list for this reason. As KPCL has sought approval from government for execution, Karnataka forest department has routed the file to central government for clearance," he added.