Monday, March 22, 2010

Greed has eaten up greenery but lakes survive

Greed has eaten up greenery but lakes survive

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore



Bommanahalli constituency, say conservationists, is one glaring green-turned-grey case in the new BBMP area. This is due to the failure of the civic authorities in regulating construction activities.
The constituency has lost over 25% of green cover to the frenzied house building, says Ramachandra Sharma, former president of Silver Oak Layouts Residents' Association. In many parts, especially on either side of Puttenahalli Main Road, there were coconut grooves and fields. They have all vanished.
Puttenahalli lake, home for a large number of water and migratory birds, still awaits a biodiversity tag. It is in a bad condition, says Sharma. Only fencing has been done around the lake bed. The constituency was earlier known for its tree cover. Not any more.
Rating the area three on a scale of one to ten where one is the lowest and ten is the highest, Sharma says that in the Puttenahalli east, there is a sandalwood park which has not escaped encroachments and poaching.
The constituency does not have a park or playground. Senior citizens are forced to walk on roadsides and children are forced to play on the road. Residents say many schools also lack playgrounds due to space constraints.
Pointing to the loss of greenery, Hema Shreehari, a resident of Bommanahalli, says that since IT parks have come up on Bannerghatta Road, people have resorted to house building to cash in on the residential demand. In most cases, they have encroached on lung spaces leading to depletion of under ground water table. As every apartment complex is pumping under ground water since Cauvery water is inadequate, water table is bound to be affected, says Hema.
Local MLA pays no attention to these problems. A corporator could be the possible saviour, she says.
Environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy agrees that Bommanahalli is one of the worst affected constituencies in terms of green audit in Bangalore south. "In the 1980s, this was a wonderful area full of green cover and large number of water bodies. Jaraganahalli and Puttenahalli were famous for their gardens. In the last eight years alone, the constituency has suffered heavy loss of green cover. This is because the constituency has grown fast and construction was unregulated."
"The tree cover has been mercilessly destroyed. The constituency, however, houses a large number of lakes, it has about 30 to 40 good lakes like Begur, Sommsandrapalya, Gottigere, Simmsandra and Puttenahalli. But all face the problem of encroachment and are polluted due to the dumping of garbage and sewerage. I have brought this to the notice of the MLA Satish Reddy. He has assured to so something. The results are awaited,'' he adds.
Rating the constituency a two, Reddy says the existing small patches of lawns, which cannot be termed as parks, are also being gobbled up. The government should act on the AT Ramaswamy report and curb encroachments. It should recover about 10,000 acres of land to create parks, playgrounds and lung spaces.

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