Tribals of beautiful but remote MM Hills to get vehicle transport services 

The Male Mahadeshwara (MM) Wildlife Sanctuary in the Eastern Ghats in Chamarajanagar district is one of the most beautiful, but remote places in Karnataka.

The Male Mahadeshwara (MM) Wildlife Sanctuary in the Eastern Ghats in Chamarajanagar district is one of the most beautiful, but remote places in Karnataka. | Photo Credit: K Murali Kumar

Remote tribal hamlets in MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding areas will be provided regular vehicle service as part of an outreach programme by the Forest Department and the Chamarajanagar district administration.

The Forest Department is set to procure four multipurpose vehicles that will not only operate regularly at stipulated timings, but will also serve as an ambulance to ferry the infirm, pregnant women and sick persons to hospitals for medical treatment, or to cater to an emergency. Besides, they can be used to transport and ferry ration to remote hamlets.

Though a similar service was introduced with a single vehicle almost three years ago, the demand for transportation with stipulated timings has increased. The earlier service was a gesture to help the tribals, but the new service will entail payment of a nominal fare.

Some of the tribal hamlets do not have access to neighbouring villages or markets, as they are located in steep terrain amidst dense forest where roads cannot be laid due to the prevailing forest laws, and the harsh and uneven terrain. Tribals have to walk for not less than 5 km for basic requirements like grocery. In case of illness, patients had to be carried for long stretches before any vehicle could pick them. Attacks by wild animals, including elephants, were not uncommon.

“Besides, conventional vehicles cannot operate on a regular basis in such terrain. The ones deployed to transport people in remote hamlets used to break down frequently throwing the transport service out of gear,” says V. Yedukondalu, Deputy Conservator of Forest, MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.

Each of the new vehicles will operate on a specific route, and three vehicles will be deployed for regular transportation. The fourth vehicle will be on standby in case of a breakdown of the regular vehicles, and to cater to a medical emergency, Mr. Yedukondalu told The Hindu.

While one vehicle will run along the Kokkabare, Doddaane and Tokere route, the second vehicle will cover Indiganatha-Nagamalai route while the third one will connect villages around Pacchadoddi. In addition, it will provide connectivity to Padasalnatha, Palar, Gopinathan and MM Hills.  

 ‘’These are six-seater vehicles. They will make multiple trips during the day based on demand. They can also function as an ambulance,” Mr. Yedukondalu added.

The vehicles are robust and can operate on steep terrain using the existing jungle track. Introducing a full-fledged public transport system is not feasible as the skeletal movement of people does not warrant such a service. Besides, heavy vehicles cannot operate on the jungle tracks. Laying asphalted roads inside the wildlife sanctuary is not permitted, according to Mr. Yedukondalu.

The vehicles are scheduled to be delivered in the last week of May. The transport services are expected to be launched in early June.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2022 9:04:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/vehicle-services-to-connect-remote-hamlets-in-mm-hills/article65456558.ece