Karnataka: Greta-backed NGO opposes axing of 6,000 trees | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: NGO Friday For Future (FFF), backed by environment activist Greta Thunberg, has launched an online campaign against the proposed axing of 6,316 trees for Hebbal-Nagawara Valley Project by the state forest department. The petition received more than 7,000 responses as of Monday.
The FFF has demanded extension of the deadline for submitting the objections owing to the pandemic situation and also to consult experts to ensure lake rejuvenation does not happen at the cost of ecology.
The project fills 65 tanks in Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural and Chikkaballapura districts. While the forest department has said objections should reach it before June 24, activists have demanded it revisit the decision. The forest department has sought public consultation to axe trees at Singayakanahalli lake for its revival.
While city activists have already expressed their ire against manipulating the biodiversity of the area, concerns have been raised at national level too. Actor Ramya Divya Spandana has also extended her support against the move.
In the campaign letter, the activists said: “It is home to peacocks belonging to schedule 1 under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972), apart from a rich biodiversity comprising foxes, snakes, birds and insects. Lake experts are of the opinion that rejuvenation can happen without cutting such a huge number of trees. Time is needed for such plans to be presented.”
City-based NGO Namma Bengaluru Foundation said it visited the spot and spotted peacocks, bird nests, snake pits, moths, butterflies and many others. It is a grazing ground for nearly a thousand cattle. There are trees which are more than 30-40 years old and recently the forest department too had taken interest in this land and planted Pongam saplings, it pointed out.
“We support the lake revival but not at the destruction of the ecology and habitat. The above findings have not been listed in the documents which are shared in the public domain and it is a short-sighted approach to the entire project with the haste to cut down 6,316 trees. The trees are protecting the catchment area which has been recharging the groundwater for decades. This ecosystem has supported the nearby villages for many generations,” said Vinod Jacob, managing director of Namma Bengaluru Foundation.

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Sagar Biswas

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