Saturday, February 20, 2010

Save GKVK from BBMP'

Save GKVK from BBMP'

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 20 Feb 2010 06:41:17 AM ISTLast Updated : 20 Feb 2010 08:38:42 AM IST
BANGALORE: We have all seen the BBMP cutting down trees in all parts of the city for road widening. For the sake of infrastructure, the garden city is being made to lose its gardens.
The need for infrastructure can never take precedence over the need to conserve the environment.
The GKVK saga
* The BBMP decided to exercise its authority by trying to build a road through our campus. Hundreds of trees were cut for the road. By doing so, the BBMP violated two laws i.e.
the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and Karnataka Tree Preservation Act.
* Several environmentalists, university staff, students and the local residents having identified this, filed a PIL. The court passed a stay order on the project and asked the BBMP to stop the felling of trees in the campus until a report from a committee was given.
* In spite of the High Court stay order, the BBMP continued the work and even started building a compound and encroached on 40 acres belonging to our campus.
* Having realised that the judicial system has not been able to help us, we resorted to silent marches and protests.
These protests were covered in all major newspapers. Yet all these protests failed to get the BBMP to stop the construction of the road.
Against rules
The audacity with which the BBMP is breaking the law and the way in which it has been disregarding the orders of the court seem to us to pose great questions on the judicial system and the concept of democracy.
The Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act categorically states that before the development of a new project by the urban planning authority, sufficient analysis should be made about the social, environmental and economic impacts and implications that the new urban project might have on the public.
The Act also states that at every step of the development of the project, the greater public interests must be taken into account. The people who might benefit from this project are very little and definitely not a majority.
Hampering research
Climate change affects agriculture the most and it is ironic that such acts that contribute to the climate change are occurring within an agricultural university.
The research plots that we use to do experiments are covered with dust. Pollination and other related natural activities of the plants are showing signs of degradation because of the pollution.
Bio-diversity hotspot
GKVK, as we all know, is the house to several rare and endangered species of perennial trees, medicinal plants, aromatic plants and plants of great economic importance. The bio-diversity of this place with respect to both flora and fauna is unique.
This fact has been further emphasised by the decision of several environmental boards and the ministry of environment to consider this place as a bio-diversity hotspot.
When food security is a big question mark, can the society afford to make way for infrastructure and neglect biodiversity? This place is also one of the biggest lung spaces present in the city.
Other lung spaces in Bangalore like Cubbon Park and Lalbagh are minuscule when compared to this campus.
Farmers’ interest
The interest of the farmers have been overlooked. As agricultural students are not against the improvement of the infrastructure of the urban community as long as it does not occur at the expense of rural India. The GKVK, nested in the heart of Bangalore, is a bridge between the aurban and rural divide.

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