BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court passed an interim order restraining the State Government from altering Hesaraghatta Grasslands in any manner on Wednesday. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said the grassland should not be altered, after hearing a PIL by Nishanth Vijay, an urban conservationist.
He had challenged the rejection of proposal for declaring the Hesaraghatta Grasslands as ‘The Greater Hesaraghatta Grasslands Conservation Reserve’ in the meeting of Karnataka State Board for Wildlife, presided by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, without considering the objections raised by majority of the members of the Board.
However, the proposal was rejected on the recommendation of Yelahanka BJP MLA S R Vishwanath, who was invited to the meeting as a special invitee, though he was not entitled to attend it as per Wildlife Board Rules.
In the 15th meeting of Karnataka State Board for Wildlife presided by CM B S Yediyurappa on January 19, 2021, MLA Vishwanath said that the forest department had objected to the development of road and laying electric line last year and same has caused inconvenience directly and indirectly to the people of villages surrounding grassland.
If it is declared as Greater Hesaraghatta Grassland Conservation Reserve Area, scarcity of land for government sponsored programmes will arise, he said.Meanwhile, the HC order has come as a breather for conservationists. However, they said they will rest once the grasslands are declared a conservation reserve.
“The interim order is welcome, but we will not rest until all 5,000 acres of Hessarghatta grassland, including the scrub forest area, the lake and the government buildings are declared a conservation reserve by the state wildlife board,” said a conservationist.
(With inputs from Bosky Khanna)