If you plan to visit the Kanheri caves this weekend; you can leave your car and hop on to a bus headed there.
In an effort to dissuade people from driving their vehicles up to the caves, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) at Borivli will ply two additional buses from the park to ferry people on Saturday and Sunday. Currently, the park has only
one bus to take people to the caves.
“Private vehicles disturb wildlife and add to the pollution. Visitors walk about in the forest area and near the streams and end up littering the place,” said Sunil Limaye, director and conservator of forests, SGNP. “We can’t have forest guards at every 15 metres to clean up after them.”
The extra buses will ply on the weekends and midweek (Wednesday and Thursday) for two weeks to check the response.
“If the response is good, we will submit a proposal to the government to procure buses and prohibit private vehicles from entering in the area,” said Limaye.
To curb pollution, park authorities are also planning to impose a fine on those throwing plastic bags or tobacco pouches within the park. Last weekend, SGNP started a clean-up drive where three groups of five people each collected 585 kg of plastic waste.
“Under the Wildlife Protection Act, if a person is found guilty of littering he can be fined Rs25,000. But since that would involve the court, we would like to put a small fine of about Rs100,” said Limaye adding that boards asking the public not to litter will also be displayed.
Welcoming the initiative, Goldin Quadros, interim director, World Wide Fund said, “It’s time a fine was imposed because gutkha packets are thrown in every corner of the park. Instead of using buses running on diesel, SGNP can look at eco-friendly buses that the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has or at solar-powered buses.”