BENGALURU: Bengaluru’s PRR project will result in loss of 34,000 trees and impact five lakes, the TG Halli catchment area, Jarakabande Reserve Forest. The draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the 8-Lane Peripheral Ring Road (PRR), Phase-1 comes as a shocker that cites adverse impacts on the ecology and micro-climate of Bengaluru. The project will destroy 33,838 trees in Bengaluru which includes 9,304 trees in TG Halli catchment area and impact 5 lakes and see diversion of 10.12 hectares of Jarakabande Reserve Forest.
The EIA report outlines that their scientific enumeration along the alignment reveals the necessity for removal of 34K trees. Out of this, 9,304 trees fall in TG Halli catchment area and 631 in Jarakabande Reserve Forest apart from diversion of 10.12 ha of forest land. “The removal of such a huge tree cover and clearance of vegetation will cause disturbance in the microclimate, habitat loss and disturbance of vegetation and sensitive plant communities.
It can cause physical disturbance and increase in release of CO2.” The Jarakabande forest is a lung space for citizens living in the northern part of Bengaluru, says Vijay Nishanth, urban conservationist. Further, the recent tiger report cites the presence of leopards in the forests of Bengaluru. The PRR will sound the death knell for the remaining lung space of the city.
A forest official adds, any massive tree felling in a catchment area will destroy the habitat. Since the project passes through TG Halli catchment area, the felling of more than 9,000 trees will affect the hydrology and water quality in the area. The construction will also cause loss of habitat of the Indian Peafowl.
On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court upheld National Green Tribunal orders which directed the BDA to prepare a fresh EIA for this project. Integrating with the existing NICE Road, this 65.5-kilometre-long PRR road with 100 metres width will connect Tumakuru Road to Hosur Road (crossing Ballari and Old Madras Road).
NGO to campaign against BDA report
Bengaluru: Jhatkaa.org has started a petition against the project. With a public hearing being called on August 11, Meghna Amin, campaigner, said, “We have three demands: Hold the BDA accountable for this erroneous EIA report, not have any public hearings until the pandemic is under control, and implement a stay order on the PRR project.”