MYSURU: Nineteen years after the death of forest brigand Veerappan, the forest terrains at Gopinatham, where he was operating, are now open to the public with the forest department launching a jungle safari in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
People visiting the Male Mahadeshwara Temple or the Hogenakkal Falls can make use of this facility from 6 AM to 9.30 AM and 4 PM to 6.30 PM. This facility is aimed at attracting tourists on the lines of Bandipur and BR Hills safari.
The forest office at Gopinatham has the bust of martyred IFS officer P Srinivas, who was beheaded by Veerappan in 1991. The safari, which was introduced on an experimental basis in August, was inaugurated a few days ago. A sum of Rs 5 crore to promote eco-tourism in the Gopinatham region was earmarked in the budget presented by the Yeddyurappa government.
The safari now attracts people not only from Karnataka but also from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and other parts of the country. The fee charged is Rs 500 per person and Rs 300 for children aged below six. The sanctuary is home to leopards, elephants, sambar deer, bears, and other animals. Once a “no-go” area because of the brigand, Gopinatham is now bustling with tourists.
People of Gopinatham and nearby villages expressed the hope that the new safari will bring more tourists and thereby help boost the local economy.