Kalpetta: Many of the resorts and home-stays hidden deep in the jungle on private lands, isolated from human habitats, have been turned into dens of anti-social activities including sex trade, drug driven DJ parties and poaching, lament forest officials of Wayanad. Recently the forest department had denied permission to a home-stay on private land surrounded by the forest on three sides near Muthanga. In another incident, when a hunting team got arrested in the wee hours, the investigation led to a jungle resort where the gangsters were staying.
When the forest department intensified raids and surveillance, many believe that the mafia elements hit back by killing a female element roaming in the forest a few kilometers away from the Wildlife warden’s office in May. In another incident, a female elephant was shot and killed in Chethalayam range near Pulppalli by another hunting team in July.
The recurring raids in resorts close to human habitats and arrests of women and customers, forced the illegal operators to shift to inaccessible jungle resorts, said a police official who preferred anonymity. “There are paid informers around who would alert the resort owners the moment a vehicle enters the jungle road”, he said.
The forest department has called for joint raids by forest and police in such resorts. Wayanad Wildlife Warden P. Dhanesh Kumar told Deccan Chronicle that a proposal had already been submitted to officials at a higher level to eliminate such activities from jungle zones. “Though we have registered a few cases so far against such resorts, we have realized that what we have hit upon is just the tip the iceberg”, he added.