Mysuru: In order to maintain the ecological balance of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, the Ministry of Forestry is working on a zonal master plan to protect its ecologically sensitive areas. The plan is touted as the first of its kind in Karnataka, with biologist and nature lover Sanjay Gubbi expressing an interest in helping the department develop the plan.
Bandipur is located in the heart of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which in turn is an integral part of the Mysore Elephant Reserve. Not only does Bandipur have the highest population of tigers in the country, it also has a large number of elephants.
Despite the dense wildlife population, there is no master plan for preserving environmentally sensitive areas within the reserve, preserving water bodies, and restoring areas that are not covered by trees. The proposed master plan hopes to fill these loopholes in Bandipur’s management.
Forestry officials told TOI that the new plan would enumerate all existing places of worship within the reserve, tribal villages, agricultural land and bodies of water. The plan will be prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and officials from all departments of the state government will be consulted on the impact of its implementation on the conservation of local ecology.
The eco-friendly zone in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve is home to 123 villages spread across the taluks Nanjangud and HD Kote in Mysuru, Gundlupet and Chamarajanagar in the border area. The land use pattern in these villages is mainly for agriculture and horticulture, while public facilities such as roads, health centers, etc. take up the remaining space.
K Paramaesh, assistant curator of the forests of the Gundlupet subdivision of Bandipur, told TOI: “The department has published a call for tenders inviting experts to submit their proposal for the master plan. Sanjay Gubbi has expressed interest in drawing up the plan. The deadline for submitting the plan is December. “
Paramesh added that the Bandipur Green Zone Monitoring Committee would allow farmers to build farmhouses in the five purpose-built guntas. “The farmer has to get permission from the ministry before he can build the house. However, the committee warned farmers not to erect illegal buildings or to use the land for commercial activities under the pretext of organic farming. The committee has asked the tax authorities to demolish buildings that were built without a permit, ”Paramesh said.