Mangaluru, Jan 22, 2019: Fourteen new environment-friendly electric buggies were launched at Dr Shivaram Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama on January 21, Monday. Mulki-Moodbidri MLA Umanath Kotian inaugurating the facility. He said that the buggies would be helpful to the visitors.
Nisargadhama Executive Director Prasanna said that the buggies would ferry visitors within the nature spot. “Visitors can buy a ticket at the Pilikula box office by paying Rs 25 per head (for adults) and Rs 10 (for children below 10 years).
Buggies would operate continuously and frequent stops would be provided to the visitors at the place of their choice. Visitors may visit the Guttu House and arboretum at their convenience. They may board buggies from any point in the Nisargadhama, between 10 am and 5 pm.
The buggies are operated in such a way that the facility would be made available once every 10 minutes. As many as 14 people can be accommodated in a single buggy. Buggies reduce walking by 3.5 km. There are seven women driving the buggies. All drivers are local and trained.
Because these vehicles run on electricity they are environment-friendly. As many as 14 buggies were introduced on Monday and two more will be introduced shortly. Each buggy costs Rs 5 lakh. The total cost of 16 buggies is Rs 1 crore.
Coastal Development Authority and Malnad Region Development Board have jointly funded the buggy facility.
These vehicles were procured through and maintained by an agency called Kavery Industries. The agency was selected through a tendering process. As per the agreement, the agency must pay Rs 1 lakh to the Nisargadhama per month, the executive director said.
With the introduction of battery-operated carts and a partial ban on vehicles running on fossil fuel, pollution from regular petrol and diesel vehicles inside the park could be reduced. The cart operators will be told to wear wrist bands to help tourists identify them for availing themselves of their services.
The Dr Shivaram Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama Biological Park Director M Jayaprakash Bhandary, Governing Council member N G Mohan, MCC corporator Hemalatha Raghu Salian, Coastal Development Authority secretary Pradeep D’Souza, Pilikula Regional Science Centre director Prof K V Rao were present.