Sunday, May 28, 2017

Illegal trekking in Kali tiger reserve?

Times of India: Bengaluru: Rohit BR: Sunday, May 28, 2017.
Even as the inquiry ordered by the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) into the alleged spending of Rs 1 crore for the Canara Trail project without approval is on, a recent RTI query has revealed that some individuals have illegally conducted trekking and documentation in the Kali tiger reserve area.
Sources said the tourism department has proposed the Canara Trail project shouldn't be taken forward as Subhash K Malkedde, additional principal chief conservator of forests (vigilance), who is conducting the probe, is yet to submit a report to the PCCF (Wildlife). The vigilance officer is probing the allegations that Rs 1 crore had been spent on the project though the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) have not approved it.
An activist said earlier this year, two persons were allowed to trek through the core and buffer areas of Kali Tiger Reserve as well as the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuaryand do documentation of the trail routes of the Great Canara Train project. "As per the provisions of section 28 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, such activities in tiger reserves can't be allowed without the permission of the chief wildlife warden," he added. The office of the director of reserve replied to his RTI query that they have not given permission to those persons from the NGO to enter the area. TOI has a copy of the RTI response dated April 17, 2017.
NGO members in their report 'The Great Canara Trail through Kali River' submitted to the forest department, have acknowledged the support given by the then tiger reserve head, range forest officers, anti-poaching camp officials and other staff for carrying out this activity.
Subhash K Malkedde said the probe is still on and he would be able to comment after gathering evidence.