Monday, August 23, 2010

Booze will stop flowing soon on Nandi Hills

Booze will stop flowing soon on Nandi Hills

The popular tourist hub will have a strict ban on plastic and liquor from october 1

Bosky Khanna

The horticulture department is getting more serious in its efforts to make the famous Nandi Hills a cleaner tourist destination with strict enforcement of the ban on plastic and liquor from October 1.
This is as part of the plan to develop Nandi Hills as an eco-destination with measures to introduce battery operated cars, developing more accommodations and restaurants, and protection of biodiversity atop the hill, said S Jairam, director, horticulture department speaking to DNA.
The horticulture department along with tourism and the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) is converting Nandi Hills into an eco-tourism destination, which makes it all the more essential to strictly enforce the law.
The tourism and horticulture departments are constructing more guest houses at a cost of Rs14 crore. Presently, there 35 rooms and 20 more are planned to be constructed behind Gandhi Nilayam.
Battery-operated vehicles will ply in the area and the place will be illuminated with solar lighting.
Jairam said that the ban on plastic and alcohol was not strictly enforced as people used to carry the items in their cars to Nandi Hills.
From October 1, the entry of vehicles will be restricted to the gate and people will have to walk or use battery operated cars (like the ones in Lalbagh).
"Work on restricting the entry of vehicles beyond the gate and cleanliness of the area is on since the last 3-4 months. In the next two months one will see results after the parking area is completely ready," said Jairam.
With a staff of 35-40 people and security outsourced, Jairam maintained that they were not short-staffed. The problem, he said, was entry of cars inside the premises.
While the proposal to ban alcohol was introduced last September, it was not implemented due to inadequate staff and enforcement.
Citizens and experts point out that plastics and alcohol bottles are thrown everywhere despite the presence of signboards prohibiting the practice.
People even indulge in illegal activities at Nandi Hills as the security is limited to checking entry tickets.
Biodiversity expert Harish R Bhat, who was on a bird-watching expedition recently to Nandi Hills, lamented the condition of Nandi Hills.
"This is the Ooty and Switzerland of Bangalore. But it is in a very dilapidated condition. The increasing tourism population with lack of enforcement of rules is creating havoc. One can find plastic and bottles strewn everywhere. The staff is found only near the ticket counter. While developing the place and attracting tourists is no harm, there should be proper management after examining the carrying capacity of the place," said Bhat.

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