Karnataka Forest Department bans tourists at Patla Betta following local tensions

The Forest Department is also thinking to introduce online booking for tourists visiting here in future.
Patla Betta is 40 km from Sakleshpur taluk in Hassan district.
Patla Betta is 40 km from Sakleshpur taluk in Hassan district.Photo | Express

HASSAN: The Karnataka Forest Department has banned entry of tourists to Patla Betta, a hill station, in Sakleshpur taluk, Hassan district, following an attack on a tourist allegedly by drivers of local vehicles over taking private vehicles to the hill top recently. The department is working out strategies to protect the nature and put an end to the frequent tussle between the locals and the tourists. Patla Betta is 40 km from Sakleshpur town.

According to deputy conservator of Forests Sourab Kumar, the department is also planning to come up with guidelines in the interest of the tourists after conducting a joint survey of the forest by tourism and forest departments. The Forest Department is also thinking to introduce online booking for tourists visiting here in future.

A tourist from Subramnya in Dakshina Kannada district was assaulted allegedly by locals over visiting the hill station in own vehicle. Yesaluru police had registered a case against four people.

According to villagers, the tussle between the tourists and the drivers of the local vehicles are a common sight. However, it goes unnoticed as people fear the locals and shy away from lodging a complaint.

Meanwhile, Karantaka Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre has sought a detailed report from the DCF into the incident. Deputy Commissioner C Satyabhama said the district administration is planning to develop Patla Betta as a tourist spot by taking the locals into confidence.

Senior officials of forest and tourism departments have been directed to come up with a proposal to develop the spot with basic amenities without disturbing the forest.

Ravikumar, a native of Patla village at the foot of the hill, alleged that tourists have destroyed the hill station by taking their own vehicles to the hilltop. It would be better to frame guidelines and direct the local authority to maintain the tourist spots, he said.

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