BY GREEN MINUTE NEWS:
For rejuvenating a Lake near Bengaluru, the State Government has put a whopping 6 K TREES on the Felling List.
Activists and environmentalists say this is nothing but an attempt to grab precious land near the IT Hub which is facing an acute shortage of space. If this project is implemented and that too during the Pandemic, it will have serious repercussions – biodiversity and microclimate.
On 14th, the Karnataka Forest department called for public objections on felling of 6316 trees for development of the Singanayakanahalli Lake in Yelahanka area which is located on the outskirts of Bengaluru. As per the Minor Irrigation and Ground Water Development department, more than 6000 trees have to be felled as it was hampering the rejuvenation of the waterbody.
The lake development project is part of the Hebbal-Nagwara Valley project that aims to fill up 65 lakes and tanks in the districts of Bengaluru rural and urban and Chikkaballapura.
The tank rejuvenation project is slated to be taken up in four villages. The works will be taken up in Survey No: 33 of Singanayakanahalli-Amanikere village, Sy No: 12 in Honnehalli village, Sy No: 39 in Nagadasanahalli and Sy No: 7 of Adiganahalli village.
According to forest officials, after site inspection of the concerned area in February, this year, a report was submitted where all the trees were marked and identified. Since the trees were posing a barrier for the lake development works, it was considered appropriate to allow the felling of these trees in Singanayakanahalli area.
A variety of tree species are on the felling list have been marked and identified; however, 4026 trees are Jaala or Prosopis juliflora, a small shrub tree. But other important species include Acacia (940), Honge or Pongemia (560), Sisu (540), Nerale or Jamun (168), Thoremathi (24), Shivani (10), Seehihunase (9), Bevu (8) and a host of other species.
ACTIVSTS CALL FOR RE-THINK
Calling it as an eco-disaster, activists have called a re-think on this project and said with such a massive green cover loss, it will kill the biodiversity of this region which is home to many faunal species including the national bird, peacock and other grassland species.
Both the Lake and Trees can be saved together if the concerned government departments can provide time, sit together and discuss with experts. V Ram Prasad, Co-Founder, Friends of Lake, a citizens’ group that has taken a lead to save the city lakes adds, “After 30 years, they wake up to rejuvenate this Lake. Suddenly, they come up with a project for development that involves felling a whopping number of 6K trees. Both Kere (lake) and Kaadu (forest) can be saved but no, maybe this is a ploy to grab land in this area.”
Vijay Nishant, Biodiversity Board member and urban conservationist adds, “This is unacceptable as Bengaluru has already lost its green cover for hundreds of linear structures in the last few decades. As it is, day in and day out, we are losing our tree cover for Namma Metro and road widening and rail projects. Unable to understand, to rejuvenate a lake, how can one kill 6K trees that has taken so many years to grow. At this rate, if we go on felling 1000s of trees year after year, we will be left with nothing. What will happen to the environment with biodiversity gone as it is, we are facing a Pandemic and extreme weather conditions.”
Nowadays, laws have been strengthened and it is not so easy to grab land and therefore, this project must be rethought, stressed Ram Prasad. “We just celebrated World Environment Day with a pledge to reimagine, restore and recreate but just a week later, the government comes up with a project for felling massive tree cover. How can one destroy natural forests and is it possible to recreate nature? If they don’t listen, we will go to the courts to stop this disastrous project.”
Eswarappa Madivali, Convenor, People’s Campaign for Right to Water says lake development projects means desilting and removal of green cover and this has been going for years. “The departments have no other agenda. Now how water will flow into the lakes, they are not even bothered. Encroachments and land grabbing of rajakaluves (main channels) continues unabated. We tried to save some 250-300 trees around Doddakallasandra Lake but alas they were felled for lake development. They claimed trees were hampering the movement of trucks for lifting of the silt from the lake and the lake bandh could not be strengthened if trees were there. And this is happening in every lake as trees are happily chopped…and if we question them, they threaten us.”
The public notice was issued on June 14th and public objections have to be filed as per Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, 1976 (Section 3 and & 7) within 10 days (that is by June 24) to deputy conservator of forests, Bengaluru (urban).
The email id : [email protected]One can also write to DCF, Bengaluru (Urban), Aranya Bhavan, 18th Cross, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru-560003