Saturday, February 24, 2007

Challenge of recreating greenery

Challenge of recreating greenery

The Hindu

BANGALORE: The Forest Department, which has reclaimed 35 acres of land of Turahalli Minor Forest from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), now faces the challenge of recreating greenery on the denuded land.

The contours of the land have changed following its levelling to make way for over 200 sites, which were to have been a part of Banashankari 6th Phase Layout. Much of the hillock in the area has been flattened and the BDA has put up poles, made roads and created shoulder drains.

The Turahalli Minor Forest has been in the eye of a controversy following the alleged encroachments by not only the BDA but also private developers and individuals, threatening the deciduous forest's existence.

The Forest Department repossessed the land on February 12, a month after it had served notice on the BDA.

Senior forest officials and the local staff have made a detailed survey of the land and commenced re-greening of the area. It will take at least five years to see the results of the afforestation efforts.

Forester Bylappa, who was in the area, told The Hindu: "We will start planting saplings to restore the green cover that had been removed. It will take some time for this minor forest to regain its original state."

"This is a proud moment for the forest personnel as this is the second time that we have succeeded in reclaiming forest land. Last year, we reclaimed 623 acres of forest in Chikmagalur after a long legal battle," said Deputy Conservator of Forests (Bangalore Urban) A.M. Annaiah.

"After the first rain we will start planting saplings, including honge, tamarind, neem and peepul," Mr. Bylappa said.

The saplings will be planted in such a way that the roads will act as pathways and the shoulder drains as waterways in the area.

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