BMRCL looks for land on outskirts of Bengaluru for compensatory afforestation
The lack of open space in Bengaluru is forcing the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to look for land on the outskirts of the city to take up compensatory afforestation.
Recently, the BMRCL had received permission to fell 604 trees for building Kothanur depot. While awarding permission, the deputy conservator of forests of Bengaluru Urban Division (Tree officer) had ordered BMRCL to come up with an action plan to plant 6,040 saplings as compensation for the loss.
However, finding land is proving to be a challenge. The BMRCL has now identified 96 acres within the Defence and Aerospace Park to plant the saplings. The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) had acquired land for the park, which is located near Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). More than 152 acres of land is available to plant saplings
The corporation has identified one more location, the BSF campus in Karahalli, to plant another 3,150 saplings. This initiative has been taken to compensate for the removal of trees to build the Langford underground station and carry out tunnel works. The forest department had permitted the axing of 276 trees, while 39 trees will be relocated. The trees identified for felling include Jackfruit, Sandalwood, Rosewood, Neem, Gulmohar and Eucalyptus.
Within city limits, defence land is proving to be an ideal choice to take up afforestation work. The BMRCL received permission from defence authorities to plant over 3,000 saplings on their land in Domlur, Neelasandra, Iblur and other areas. This is compensation for the felling of trees in Kadugodi plantation and Benniganahalli tank bund areas, and to build an underground network from South Ramp (Jayanagar metro) to North Ramp (Nagawara).
‘Use encroached land’
Environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy said that, over the years, provisions of the Karnataka Preservation of Tree Act have been diluted so that trees can be felled for infrastructure projects. When asked about compensatory afforestation work, he said, “Taking up afforestation works in army land in Bengaluru is a good initiative. Around 8,000 acres of army land is available within city limits. Even if 2,000 acres are available for afforestation, it is good enough. Likewise, taking up afforestation on the outskirts has its benefits. Though it is a scattered approach, cumulatively, it has benefits.”
He added that there was a need to take up afforestation works in lands that are cleared from encroachers by the Bengaluru Urban district administration. “I have written a letter to the BMRCL, and they have given a positive reply,” he said.
As per the terms, the BMRCL has to take up compensatory afforestation through an agency having expertise in afforestation works and maintain saplings for a period of three years.