According to a new initiative to keep the park free of pollution and litter, visitors who hire bicycles will get a discount
Officials at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) are pulling out all stops in an effort to make the park spanning 104 sq km free of dirt and pollution. After initiating 'rent a cycle' scheme to keep the park pollution free, they will now give those who rent the cycles environment-friendly bags to collect garbage. Depending on the volume of garbage collected, the cyclist will be given a Rs 5-10 discount on the hiring charge.
The park has 60 bicycles available for visitors, and cyclists are charged Rs 40 for two hours. The novel scheme, according to the authorities, will help in ridding the litter in the park.
"If the visitor gets a bagful of refuse, they will get a discount of Rs 5 on the hire. If we find that the quantity of garbage collected is more, we may increase the discount to Rs 10," said a forest official. Further, to crack down on those who litter, officials formed a vigilance squad on November 11, which will take strict action against those caught throwing junk inside the green zone. The fine will depend upon the gravity of the misdeed. The action comes after various awareness programmes conducted by the authorities inside the park to make SGNP litter free failed.
Justifying the action, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) and Director of SGNP Sunil Limaye said, "For the
last three months, we have been asking visitors not to litter inside the park. We have done a lot to make them saware of the ill effects of littering. Still, they do not heed our requests; they have displayed zero civic sense.
Hence, we are forced to penalise them. Starting Friday, we started fining visitors."
According to park officials, on the very first day of the drive, they collected 600 kg of plastic, while on the weekend, they notched 400 kg of litter.
Did you know?
According to the Wildlife Act, littering attracts a penalty of Rs 25,000 or the offender is liable for punishment for three years if convicted.
Night camps at SGNP
Starting December, nature lovers can enjoy the sanctity of the wild by renting tents inside SGNP. To encourage eco-tourism, park officials plan to rent tents in the secured zone of Krishnagiri Upvan at SGNP. As leopards and other animals roam the area, officials have taken special care to construct the tents in a fenced location. The tents come equipped with a toilet.
To make the experience surreal, the tents will not have electricity or television. Also, cooking will not be permitted. An average of six people would be able to reside for 24 hours in a tent for Rs 2,400.
SGNP Director Sunil Limaye said, "The main reason behind planning this project was to promote eco-tourism and we are confident that it will attract a large number of nature lovers who want to experience night camping in the wild."