BENGALURU: The 5-year-old proposal to form a “Greater Hessarghatta Grassland Conservation Reserve” seems to have gone for a toss while the process for expediting the Film City project there is going on. Wildlife experts, bird watchers and forest officials have called for shifting the film city project from the rich grasslands of Hessarghatta to some other place on the outskirts of the city.
They said that even as the proposal for greater conservation reserve has been sent to the wildlife and animal husbandry departments, the Film City project has been proposed now. Local activists said, “Film shooting was stopped at Hessarghatta during 2017-18 as we found they were damaging the unique biodiversity of these grasslands.
There was a lot of demand for film shootings and after a lot of discussions, all film shootings were stopped. Further, no development work was taken up as it would have affected the breeding of birds in this area.” Prasanna Kumar A, Bengaluru (Urban) honorary wildlife warden, said, “Hessarghatta is the pride of Bengaluru and we have been working to turn this into a greater conservation reserve.
The proposal was sent five years back. It was also proposed that the animal husbandry department should issue an NOC and leave the space of nearly 350 acres for this reserve. We will talk to actor Shivarajkumar and appeal to him not to agree to this film city at Hessarghatta in the interest of protecting Bengaluru city.”
A forest official said, “This is the only lung space in the north western parts of the city.
Karnataka has already lost precious grasslands in many districts like Chitradurga, Davangere and Tumakuru to projects like science city, wind mills, solar panels and linear structures. Unlike forests, grasslands have received little protection and so we have lost many species.” Documentation by ornithologists and bird groups has shown the presence of 2,000 water birds of 29 species. In fact, 130 bird species have been recorded by bird watchers in and around this area.
Hessarghatta is the only existing open grassland in the city and every year, it is a pilgrimage for bird watchers to record the species during October-March. This area is considered a significant site for several winter migratory birds as also many raptor species from Siberia, Europe and Central Asia. The grasslands along with the Hessarghatta Lake (about 60 acres) is an open lung space in the northern side of Bengaluru. Presently, the animal husbandry department is the owner of nearly 350 acres of grasslands in this area.