Forest dept asks Kannada actor to stop construction in Bandipur reserve | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Forest dept asks Kannada actor to stop construction in Bandipur reserve

Aug 19, 2023 12:19 AM IST

The Karnataka forest department has issued a notice to Kannada actor Ganesh, ordering an immediate halt to construction of a permanent structure in an eco-sensitive zone inside the Bandipur tiger reserve

Bengaluru: The Karnataka forest department has issued a notice to Kannada actor Ganesh, ordering an immediate halt to construction of a permanent structure in an eco-sensitive zone inside the Bandipur tiger reserve, officials familiar with the matter said.

Karnataka forest department has issues a notice to Kannada actor Ganesh.
Karnataka forest department has issues a notice to Kannada actor Ganesh.

The department has also sought a report from the actor within seven days. The action comes in response to allegations of potential violations of construction norms in the delicate ecological area by the actor.

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At the heart of the matter is Ganesh’s building project located in Survey No. 105 of Jakkalli, Hangala Hobli, in Gundlupet taluk, encompassing 1.24 acres within the boundaries of the Bandipur reserve.

“No new permanent structures to come up for whatsoever purpose within the ESZ stand and we cannot give and we cannot give any new permission for any new structure to the applicant,” the notice read.

Although Ganesh initially secured permission from the Environment Sensitive Zone Monitoring Committee (ESZMC) on March 15 this year, the construction has raised concerns among environmentalists. The original permission was granted for a temporary structure designated for residential and agricultural purposes, with specific design criteria and a commitment to avoid disturbing local wildlife.

Reports from environmentalists indicate that the ongoing construction deviates from the initial plans. The incorporation of large concrete pillars, indicative of a more permanent structure, has caused unease. The installation of solar fencing implies a level of permanence that is incompatible with the eco-sensitive zone’s regulations.

Environmentalist Joseph Hoover said, “This construction seems to disregard the guidelines of the environmentally sensitive zone. Adhering to proper procedures is vital to prevent irreversible ecological harm.”

The construction of permanent structures and the fencing of properties have disrupted the natural movement patterns of wildlife, increasing the risk of conflict between humans and animals.

Responding to environmentalists’ concerns, forest officials have taken the matter seriously. The conservator of forests instructed the assistant conservator of forests (ACF) to conduct an on-site investigation. Subsequently, Ravindra, the ACF of the Gundlupet sub-division, submitted a comprehensive report to Bandipur Tiger Project director P. Rameshkumar.

The report said the construction project substantially violated the stipulations set by the Micro Sector Monitoring Committee and the director’s office. Consequently, the report demanded an immediate halt to work and proposed legal actions against the owner, Ganesh, as recommended by the ACF’s assessment.

The notice reads, “It has been observed that the regulations presented in the Bandipur Environmentally Sensitive Zone monitoring committee meeting, and the conditions outlined in your covering letter, have been breached.” Ganesh has been directed to submit all relevant construction documents, including approved blueprints, records from the revenue department regarding temporary construction, and other pertinent files within a week. Work has been suspended until further instructions are provided.

Ramesh Kumar has forwarded a detailed report on the issue to regional commissioner Prakash, who also chairs the Monitoring Committee of the Environmentally Sensitive Zone. The report underscores Ganesh’s non-compliance with the committee’s communicated conditions and calls for a thorough examination of all associated documents. The focus is on determining whether the construction is genuinely temporary or, in fact, permanent. In case evidence supports the violation of conditions, the report advocates taking appropriate legal measures.

Associates of actor Ganesh, who didn’t want to be named, said the actor plans to respond to the notice within the next two days.

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