This MLA clearly thinks he is above the law

This MLA clearly thinks he is above the law

Submitted by alvin on Mon, 2016-11-28 16:56 Bengaluru: This year the forest department’s efforts to check human intervention during the annual Beladakuppe Mahadeshwara fair in Hediyala range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) – that began from November 25 – was a record of sort in many ways. For the first time, private vehicles including bullock carts were stopped outside the forest and devotees were urged to go by foot. No loudspeakers were allowed. Everything was in place. But all went in vain when the local MLA barged into the forest along with his supporters and abused the forest staff, who questioned him.Chikkamadu, JD(S) MLA from HD Kote, arrived with 15 followers in tow and tried to enter the forest. He pulled up the officers for preventing vehicles from entering the forest during the fair. He abused the forest authorities and the wildlife activists, when they tried to prevent him.His argument was devotees would face of lot difficulties to walk into the temple inside the forest. He pushed away the barricades and drove into the forest in his private car. The situation went haywire as thousands of people who had parked their vehicles outside ,– as directed by the authorities – ventured into the tiger reserve all on their own, emboldened by the MLA’s act.The upset Forest authorities are now seriously contemplating to involve top police officers from next year to ensure that they are not prevented from discharging their duties.In fact, the department had stepped up vigilance without causing inconvenience to devotees, this year. KSRTC buses were used to ferry devotees till a certain distance to ensure that it is not too far for them to reach the forest. No shops and commercial establishments were allowed to come up near the forest except those selling puja materials. Watch Video: The department had strictly told the temple committee that they would not be allowed to use loudspeakers and noisy generators to protect the pristine environment. The department had conducted a meeting with local authorities and temple committee members on November, 4, 2016 and apprised them of the sensitivity of the region. The local police in collaboration with the forest officials stopped the vehicles outside and urged the people to go by foot till the temple. The devotees co-operated with the forest authorities. But on Sunday,  the JD(S) legislator arrived with his entourage and virtually scoffed at the wildlife conservation measures.“This incident is a clear proof to the political pressure in preventing forest authorities from discharging their duties. Apprehensions that the tiger reserve will be disturbed during the fair have come true,” said a wildlife activist.“The MLA had earlier objected to the decision of the Forest department to regulate vehicular movement during the fair. But the department had convinced him that it is necessary and assured that the people will not face any difficulties,” a wildlife activist from Gundlupet told Bfirst.in. “He (the legislator) had even agreed upon it until Sunday evening, when he came to the spot and destroyed the barricades,” the activist added saying that the department staff and the police just stood over there helplessly, watching the legislator.When contacted T Heeralal, Conservator of Forest, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, expressed his unhappiness over the development, saying there will be further stringent measures next year.  “It is over this year, but we will not keep quiet. We will involve top police officers and even PCCF to ensure that there will be no movement of private vehicles inside the tiger reserve,” he told bfirst.in.According to the rules, a tiger reserve in the country should be inviolate and undisturbed. Even tourism and commercial activities including a few farming activities have been restricted. But since the fair began, Hediyala range witnessed a sea of people venturing into the national park to celebrate the weeklong festival. “It would have been a new beginning if there was no MLA’s intervention,” lament the activists.