A student is drowned while on trekking.
The incident:-A group of 14 students of BMS college of Engineering( i am alumni of this college!) organized a trekking to ombattu gudda themselves and ventured in to forest without any preparation or permission. It was most sadest moment to hear about the incident in which a young boy lost his life while on trekking to ombattu gudda. Little care would have prevented the accident. It was total irresponsible approach by these students. There was no preparation whats so ever. With these kind of incidents , Our trekking life would become difficult. Authorities will be waiting for these kind of incidents to prevent people going in to the jungle. They will keep quoting this incident to deny rightful entry to forest for trekking to everyone.
Entry to forests:-
God has created many things to be used responsibly by humans and animals alike. Forest is also one among them. So we have right to explore and enjoy the gods creation responsibly. Our experience off late is, everywhere forest department gives one or other reason to deny permission to enter forest. This is blatant violation of fundamental rights. But there is no one to ask. We can always fight, but at the cost of peace of mind. The above incident only gives more ammo to forest officials to deny the entry. I heard some commentators on TV asking for total ban, is it justified?...there are accidents everyday on roads, can they ban driving on roads as it may lead to accident?? So What can forest department do? Forest department should formulate strict rules, and allow trekkers to explore the forests. In Sharavathi wildlife sanctuary, the local DCF has formulated strict rules for forest entry and we have been fallowing it from past few years. Here we need to submit some photo ID proof of trekker at least 1 weak prior and get the permit letter on a Rs.20 Bond paper. This system is working very well, and all are happy with that. Same thing or similar approach should be formulated at the state level forest office.
Bottom line is they can not deny the entry to forest, just because there was one incident by an ameteuar.
As usual it was sensationalized by media. One TV news called trekking a "Mozu, masti". Though it was wrong on part of students venturing in to forest without prior preparation or permission, surely they did not go to do "mozu masti" there. There are many places for that in city and the group was also not that of that kind. Media should be responsible when they make news story.
My observation is that department is short staffed. Existing staff are also a lazy kind of people out there. They simply dont want any extra responsibility. For everything they point finger at short staff. Because department has problem, they should not stop nature lovers from exploring the forest. They must formulate rules, and give appropriate permission to enter forest for trekking. Now only privileged class to enter forests are naturalists and photographers. Among them many are fake. Bottom line is department should not deny for trekker to enter the forest.
Trekkers should be responsible before they take up expedition. Gone are the times when the activity was restricted to selected few nature enthusiasts and there was no restriction. As everything gets polluted, the trekking activity is also filled with people who are out there to have their "fun" time. So to avoid getting tagged with that type of people, better prepare in advance, contact local person for the guidance, take necessary prior permission from department and then venture it. We, as organizers have been doing this from past couple of years and we are proud that they have been incident free. I hope these incidents brings in some level of responsibility among trekking community. Life is precious, so safety should be give foremost importance.