Friends of Bandipur,
Now here we go with an alternate to the long discussion everywhere regarding INR 500. We have maintained that INR 500 should be paid and stand by it that the forest department Karnataka should be geting the revenue. Jungle Lodges is at the moment only a sevice provider with vehicles that it has or rents out as their own vehicles are not enough. What I am saying require discipline from all of us and F.D. Karnataka. I dont know if government bodies posess that trait but strangely animals do and so I assume we do…:) 😀
Hereunder our thoughts to deescalate and bring in order in the unruly mess
1. INR 500 will be collected from all SLR with lenses more than 300. Reason? Size. and eqipment that goes with it, bags to carry the cameras, lenses, tripods, monopods, filters, hoods for camera and self and the ever so present TOEHOLD bag so lovingly created and sold by my friends Jayanth and Giri that it takes its place in every vehicle with almost every photographer. It actually makes me happy to see it in the vehicles. Of course in the lighter vein the spouse that espouses similar photogaphic ambitions or supports it with her love by being there in the vehicle.
2. I will say the photography fees can be even made INR 1000 if a proper vehicle is given and is dedicated to those on this spree of photography, either to use them commercially or as a ego-booster on FB 😉
And now comes the real thing:
All of us know that only a number of persons and a number of vehicles can enter the park for safaris. Let me not dwell into who is entering illegally or has better connections. The vehicles that enter the park cannot be all of one size. We are no communists I think. The safari structure and number of guests on a given day demand a bigger and smaller size. As we have seen in the past JLR uses all its smaller vehicles for its guests only and the photographers have been used to reserving seats in front or back of the camper or jeep. All the other guests have been herded into buses and mind you those FIT’s have been paying more, sometimes even INR 2000 per Person, have been staying in facilities in and around the park, thus sustaining livelihood of the people who work there. Isn’t he supposed to get a chance to enjoy the safari without children around him or noisy tourists which are a reality. Isn’t he to be placed higher than the photographer who has driven whole night, burning fossil fuel and boards the jeep paying just the safari cost and is getting his ‘reserved’ seat. Aarakshan of another kind just because you hold a camera? No.
I suggest that only 2 vehicles are earmarked as vehicles that can be given to these photographers and the booking has to be through a facility or lets have it democratic… ONLINE with a credit card guarantee as the seats in these vehicles will be premium and have to be paid with the premium of INR 1000 which I mentioned earlier.
And lets ask ourselbes some questions:
– Must I land up everytime to the place sometimes doing 500 Safaris in a year… Can’t I wait to come another day? Having this extra fee is making sure we dont see the same faces every weekend and reduce the pressure on the park and the Forest Departments gets a proper control over the number of persons and vehicles entering the vehicle. Has any one asked if the park can carry 1000 visitors per day?
– Also lets ask if its fair to create such a hue and cry over just INR 500 now.- It wasnt affecting us as long the ride was FREE without a so called Camera tax…
Time to think and not run to TADOBA…
PS: Join me at Dhole’s Den, support us in making the realisation that Bandipur and the Wilds in general ist more than just a Safari. And yes by the way you can also stay with us at Dhole’s Den if you still haven’t 😉