BENGALURU: Despite 50,000 people voicing their objections, the state government recommended a 100sqkm reduction in the eco sensitive zone (ESZ) of Bannerghatta National Park, the last remaining lung space of Bengaluru. However, now taking up the cause of ESZ protection, Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya has appealed to the Union Environment and Forest Minister for implementation of stringent measures and immediate action to retain the original ESZ as notified in 2016.
Surya has stated, “Since the environment around Bengaluru is of great importance as this green patch is very close to the city, it moderates its climate. However, the ESZ is being sought to be trimmed over by 100sqkm, thus opening up more areas for mining and commercial development. As per the original draft notification in 2016, the ESZ was 268.96 sqkm, which would have provided a cushion effect for the national park. However, it was reduced to 168.84sqkm in the revised draft issued in 2018.”
The trimming of ESZ is primarily in the areas north of BNP, which is Kanakpura and Bengaluru where granite and stone mining is rampant and real estate sector is active. Despite 50K objections and a petition, there has been a new development which merits the attention of the union minister.
The MP adds that till the final notification is issued, it should have been surmised by the state forest department and other concerned agencies that the existing default ESZ continues and should not have remained indifferent to the cause for protection of BNP. “This has led to new residential layouts and industrial activities, including a bottled water plant, being taken up in the ESZ despite prohibition of such activities in this zone.
In fact, after the revised draft seeking reduction in the ESZ was issued, all kinds of illegal activities like quarrying, felling of trees and excavation work have commenced. None of them have any sanction, or permission for such activities from concerned departments.”Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has assured the MP that the issue of reduction in Bannerghatta ESZ will be given a re-look.