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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Karnataka government flouts green laws in Bandipur, plans a building

TNN | Jun 20, 2012, 05.53AM IST MYSORE: Government-owned Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR), a unit involved in eco-tourism, is planning to raise permanent structures at its resort on the fringes of Bandipur Tiger Sanctuary in gross violation of norms pertaining to eco-sensitive zones. As per the guidelines and rules worked out by the ministry of forest and environment and Project Tiger authorities, no commercial activity can be taken up in eco-sensitive zones. Even the raising of permanent structures related to commercial ventures is prohibited. If villagers or locals plan to build/ alter their houses/ bungalows, they have to seek permission of a committee constituted for the purpose. But in violation of all such norms and guidelines, JLR authorities at Melkamanahalli unit are planning to build staff quarters and other structures to improve the facilities for tourists and resort employees. There are also plans to build a compound and parking unit for vehicles. When contacted, Bandipur Tiger Sanctuary director Kumar Pushkar said according to a communication received by him, JLR authorities have decided to drop the construction of staff quarters with the plan going against the norms on eco-sensitive zones. "Earlier, they had decided to build the quarters and started related works. But they have stopped now," he said, adding that no commercial activity or work related to commercial ventures will be allowed in 3-6-km radius of the sanctuary. However, JLR MD Anu Reddy tried to defend himself, saying that they are going ahead with work on the staff quarters. "Building staff quarters is not a commercial activity," he said, adding: "We have dropped the idea of building a compound wall. We have now decided to put chicken mesh around the resort and create parking space at a place adjoining the resort." He said Chamarajanagar district administration has allotted the land for the purpose. "We are not violating any rule related to eco-sensitive zones," he said.

Don’t send spotboys to fetch me: Salman Khan

Vickey Lalwani, Mumbai Mirror | Jun 20, 2012, 09.07AM IST Salman Khan has issued a new and bizarre diktat on the sets of his film. Says the shoot will commence only when he is ready Salman Khan, who of late had started giving his 'inputs' and rather strong 'suggestions' on the sets have issued a new diktat. A source from the unit of Yash Raj Films' Ek Tha Tiger told us that the actor has now barred unit members from summoning him for a shot while he is in his vanity van. Needless to say, this new injunction issued by Salman has put the unit in an inconvenient situation. "Salman wants to step out of his vanity when he feels like. Nobody can call him for a shot. The entire unit has to simply wait for him to alight. Even if it means delaying the shoot," added the source. But the Ek Tha Tiger team has been grinning and bearing it. "Salman often comes to the set late these days. Then he simply locks himself in his vanity van. He pays no heed to the shot that is being readied or is already prepared for him. The filmmakers can't schedule his shots with other actors either since you can't make Salman wait," an eyewitness told us. Salman had been throwing his weight around with the makers of the film for some time now. Earlier, we told you how Khan had refused to travel to Morocco to shoot a promotional song and had ordered for a set to be built in Film City to represent the foreign location. Helpless, the unit had to comply. While star 'tantrums' is not a new phenomenon in the film industry, Salman Khan's latest set of rules and regulations have surely come as a shock to the makers of the film. Perhaps, the actor has taken the tag of Tiger a bit too seriously.

Second attempt on relocation of Sultanpur tigress today

ALWAR: Preparations have begun once again for relocation of the Sultanpur tigress from Kota to Sariska. A team from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, will reach Kota on Wednesday and will attempt to trace the tigress before relocating it to Sariska. In its earlier attempt, the WIII team had failed to trace the tigress in Sultanpur. The team had tried locating the tigress between March 9 to 15 but its attempts proved futile after which the team had to return. The Sultanpur tigress had made its way from Ranthambore to Kota about two years back and till now it is staying there. Since the tigress can become a mother the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), on a request from the state forest department, has given the nod for its relocation to Sariska. Meanwhile, it's a new radio collar now for tigress T-5 in Sariska. The radio collar on the tigress was changed by a team of WII, Dehradun, on Tuesday morning as the old one had become defunct. According to officials in the forest department, "The old collar had become defunct for quite some time and we were able to track the tigress only by its pug mark. But now we will be able to monitor it well." The WII team had reached Sariska on Monday traced the tigress. "On Monday, the tigress was traced near the Suli Ka Nullah in the Sukola area. On sighting her we fired a dart and tranquilized the tigress after which the radio collar was changed. The entire process just took 20 minutes and the tigress by then regained consciousness and was up on her feet," a source said.

‘Give proper compensation to natl park residents’

Sringeri, June 19, 2012, DHNS: Taluk Panchayat members have warned the Forest Department Wildlife Division that they would be paving way for another struggle in the region if people are evicted from Kudremukh National Park area without giving proper compensation. Addressing the all members’ meet on Monday, TP Vice-President Nuthan Kumar said that there are several complaints pouring in informing that forest department officials have been threatening and harassing the people living in Kudremukh National Park area. The meet demanded complete details from forest official K Srinath with regard to complaints that areca trees were fell by the officials in the plantation of Kerekatte residents Virupaksha and his father Manjappa. Further the house also said that there have been complaints with regard to forest department not giving proper compensation to Srinivas from Kattigadde, who wanted to leave the place and go voluntarily. Responding to this Srinath said that Kattigadde Srinivas has received compensation from service organisation named Tiger Project. Intervening at this point, the members raised objection saying that Tiger Project has not been functioning judiciously in the region. Sent out of schools During the meeting, many members brought to the notice of the house the practice followed by some private schools of forcefully giving Transfer Certificates to students of eighth and ninth standard who are not good at studies, with the view of enhancing the results in 10th standard examination. Further, those students studying in tenth standard who are not good at studies are being asked to appear for the examination privately. The BEO was asked to take steps to see to it that such incidents do not happen in the region in future.

Stop picnics, start eco-tourism in Sundarbans: Bengal forest dept

Subhro Niyogi, TNN | Jun 19, 2012, 01.05PM IST KOLKATA: Taking a leaf out of the mandatory in-flight instructions that stewards and stewardesses deliver prior to each flight, informing passengers how to fasten the seat belt and what to do in an exigency, the state forest department wants all tourist agencies in the Sunderbans, including boat owners, to spell out the dos and don'ts to tourists before they embark on the tour. The proposal is part of the first serious initiative to transform the tourist scene in the Sunderbans that is currently nothing more than picnic tourism. A majority of the 3 lakh visitors who go to the Sunderbans do so to have fun without bothering about the ecology. During the day, they feast on board, litter the creeks and rivers with thermocol plates and plastic bottles and dancing to loud music at night while the boat is anchored mid-river. ""We want to end irresponsible tourism and promote eco-tourism in the Sunderbans. To do so, we need the cooperation of all stakeholders. This is a clarion call for all-NGOs; tour operators; boat and lodge owners-to partner with the forest department and create awareness on the need to preserve the region's ecology while conducting tourism activities,"" Sunderban Biosphere Reserve director Pradeep Vyas told a stakeholders' meeting in the city on Monday. Though the draft of what guides and helpers on boats will tell tourists before the trip is yet to be worked out, it will broadly be along these lines: ""Dear guests, welcome on board. Fasten your seatbelts for a trip to the Sunderbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During this journey through the Sunderbans' rich biodiversity that is home to the world's largest tiger reserve, one must not disturb the fragile ecosystem. Plastic carry bags are strictly prohibited. Those who have plastic bags must deposit them and take jute bags in return. Do not throw plastic bottles, thermocol plates or any litter into the water. And please maintain silence, speaking only in whispers so that everyone can enjoy the sounds of the forest. Playing loud music is strictly prohibited. Here's wishing you a very pleasant experience."" Suggesting a three-pronged effort to curb pollution in the Sunderbans, Vyas said the forest department would form strategic partnerships for education and awareness of tourists and then undertake enforcement of existing laws to wipe out the menace. The department has also suggested a strict ban on plastic glasses, thermocol plates and polybags into the region. ""NGOs can distribute jute bags to boat and launch operators. If any tourist has a plastic bag, it can be confiscated and a jute bag handed out at a price or for free. Boat operators can also use melamine plates, glasses and spoons that can be washed and reused. Also, NGOs can network to check entry and exit of packaged water bottles,"" Vyas said. Incidentally, the plastic ban has been in force for over a decade but has not had much effect till now due to lack of sustained movement. However, following complaints from tourists and a section of tour operators of indiscriminate littering, the forest department has woken up to the situation and is now seeking the help of stakeholders to reign in the problem. ""We don't want to start with fines. But if the situation does not improve soon, we will have to take punitive action. Responsibility will be fixed on tour and boat operators to ensure that they do not allow littering and use of loudspeakers. NGOs will be encouraged to carry out periodic clean up drives along the river banks. Unless we adopt these practices, the Sunderbans will be over-run by waste plastic and thermocol,"" Vyas added.