'Night trekking illegal': K’taka minister pulls up BookMyShow, cautions trekkers

“Night treks are banned in the state,” the Tourism Minister said in a tweet.
'Night trekking illegal': K’taka minister pulls up BookMyShow, cautions trekkers
'Night trekking illegal': K’taka minister pulls up BookMyShow, cautions trekkers

Karnataka Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge rapped online ticketing portal/app BookMyShow for selling night trek tours in and around Bengaluru on its platform.

Tweeting on Saturday, Priyank who also holds the portfolios of Information Technology and Biotechnology, said, “Night treks are banned in the state @bookmyshow . We will have to take action against the organizers & you for promoting treks that are illegal, if immediate action is not taken. Also please submit details of the organizers to my office, you know how to reach me.”

The tweet referred to “Kunti Betta Night Trek With Water Activities” which has since been removed from the platform.

Replying to the minister’s tweet, BookMyShow conceded that there was a lapse on their part.

“Dear Sir, Thank you very much for drawing our attention on this lapse from our side on the legalities and terms to promote such content. Please be rest assured our Business team shall connect with you shortly to gather more information on such content. Thank you again, sir,” the company tweeted.

In a later tweet, Priyank cautioned, “Requesting all adventure enthusiasts not to fall prey to night treks promoted by individuals or organizations. They are illegal and can be dangerous. Please use the endorsed 11 eco trails.“

The other night trek plan sold on the platform was Anthargange Night Trek.

Not only BookMyShow, many online platforms including Facebook/WhatsApp groups sell packages for night treks in forest areas in the state.

One trekking company that TNM spoke to said that they do not have night treks as they are illegal, but there are some companies who flout the rule.

Sridhar Punnati, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) told TNM, “All night treks which are happening now are without the permission of the Forest Department. To enter forest areas, it is necessary to obtain permission from the department. In order to regulate this, we at the Forest Department and Eco-Tourism department have started some trails.”

“Safety is an issue during night treks. There are some leopard areas, and some sloth bear areas. We are not against night trekking, but there is a need for a proper system to take care of all these aspects, after which we can start allowing night treks,” he added.

In May 2016, forest authorities had registered an FIR against one such tour organiser after some trekkers were detained and their vehicle seized. It was only after the tour operator paid a fine that they were let off.

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