Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (DV)
Mangaluru, Mar 15: After the Coastal Development Authority and Malnad Region Development Board jointly funded to introduce environment-friendly electric buggies to ferry visitors by spending Rs one crore at Dr Shivaram Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama, all the 16 environment-friendly electric vehicles are idle and unused since a few months.
Aiming to benefit tourists who visit facilities spread across Vamanjoor and Moodushedde villages, buggies were introduced. This was also helpful to the aged and persons with physical disabilities to take a tour of the several areas at the Pilikula Nisargadhama. The buggies reduce walking by 3.5 km. The buggies were also introduced to preserve the flora and fauna of the Western Ghats and to reduce the impact of private motor vehicles on the environment.
Each buggy cost Rs 5 lac. The facility was flagged in January 2019.
These electric vehicles were ferrying the visitors to the regional science center, planetarium, biological park, boating centre, heritage village, arboretum and Guttumane at a cost of Rs 40 per head. Rs 20 was charged for children and the service was free for the physically disabled. As the buggies remain idle, senior citizens and the physically challenged have to face inconvenience.
According to sources, the government has spent a huge amount on the buggies. At present, all 16 vehicles have come to halt. Without proper maintenance, as many as 14 vehicles are in a dilapidated state. Reportedly, only two vehicles can be put into use.
After the pandemic, footfall to Pilikula Nisargadhama had increased. People from various places were visiting Pilikula Nisargadhama, while on a visit to the city.
The buggies were run by women. They were paid by the contractor who ran the buggies by hiring on a contract basis. As the buggies have come to a halt, the women who were running the vehicles are jobless now. All drivers were locals and trained.
Chairman of Pilikula Development Authority and deputy commissioner D Ravikumar MR confirmed that the issue has come to his notice. “The tender to run buggies is under process. As of my knowledge, all vehicles are in working condition,” he said.
Speaking to Daijiworld, activist Hanumanth Kamath said, "The buggies in Pilikula Nisargadhama have come to halt for four months. Buggies were helpful for senior citizens to visit the vast area of the park. Due to the negligence of the authority concerned, all-electric vehicles have come to halt. Moreover, tyres of the vehicles have been removed. The elected representatives, deputy commissioner and the officials concerned should throw light on it. I suspect the involvement of political lobby in the processing of tender here."
Sowparnika, a student from a college in the city who visited Pilikula Nisargadhama also explained the pathetic condition of electric vehicles meant for public.