Environmentalists oppose KSRTC's night safari in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga range | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Sultan Bathery: Jungle Safari project of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) aimed to bolster night-time tourism has already met opposition from environmental groups.

KSRTC announced the Kerala Safari project in Wayanad to tap the tourism potential of the popular destination spot in Kerala. The project, set to be launched next week, includes two buses departing from Bathery depot at 9 pm and heading through Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary for a cost of Rs 300 per person.

However, the environmental groups claimed that a 60km journey through the restricted forest areas violates the existing laws, including the 1km buffer zone recognised by the Supreme Court of India under Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ).

Wayanad Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi noted that only eco-tourism is allowed in Wayanad wildlife sanctuary, and even tourism projects of the Forest Department are restricted.

"The forest department can conduct projects only through the Eco-Development Committees. The tourism projects are launched only after receiving approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Additionally, a Kerala High Court verdict also noted tourism as a non-forest activity," they said. They demanded immediate action against KSRTC for launching the project in Wayanad.

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