Activists oppose Bangalore University’s move to allot land for CBSE centre, yoga varsity
Environmentalists say it will destroy greenery; Forest Department will look into issue of tree loss, says VC.
Environmentalists have opposed Bangalore University’s move to allot land on its green Jnana Bharathi campus for the CBSE’s southern centre and for a yoga university. They have termed it a “destructive move that will result in the axing of more than 9,000 well-grown trees.” These trees, they said, were planted more than two decades ago in what is considered a biodiversity park.
Environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy said the move to hand over land on the campus is “mindless”. “Thousands of students and citizens created the park; no money from the university or the government was used for it. After 20 to 25 years of effort, the campus has green cover that is much larger than that of Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh. It is the biggest oxygen bank in the city and more than 5,000 people go for a walk there. A majority of the grown-up trees are indigenous species that were planted two decades ago systematically. People who are allotting the land to other institutions must realise that the park is a catchment area for the Vrishabhavati valley. By allotting land, they are converting the area into a concrete jungle,” he said.
The former coordinator for the biodiversity park T.J. Renuka Prasad said the park is home to endangered tree species, and researchers had recorded 148 species of butterflies and 149 species of birds in the area. He also said that there are more than 200 peacocks in the area. “In 2017, the Sports Authority of India had sought additional land on the campus. That time, the government had clearly told the university not to allot land to any agency as the area had developed as a biodiversity park and it had to be preserved. Now, it appears that the government is going back from its own words,” he said.
However, BU Vice-Chancellor K.R. Venugopal told The Hindu that two acres of land had been sought for the CBSE, but what was agreed upon was one acre on lease for 30 years, but it is yet to be registered. Another 15 acres of land will be allotted for the proposed University of Yogic Sciences, which is a Central government project. “The UGC had written to the Chief Secretary to allot 25 acres of land. We have said that 12.5 acres or 15 acres of land will be allotted. We want this to be an education hub, and I am sure they would like to maintain the greenery for the yoga university,” he said.
Responding to concerns raised over the felling of trees, the Vice-Chancellor said the Forest Department would look into the issue of tree loss.