Thursday, March 25, 2010

Greening will be a 'bruhat' task for corporators

Greening will be a 'bruhat' task for corporators

The damage has been done. But all hope is not lost as concerted efforts can still turn several areas into verdant Anandnagars

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore



This constituency, which not long ago was considered green with many water bodies and lung spaces, has given way to brick and cement. It all began with frenzied constructions in Bangalore North after the international airport came up. By now, this wanton act has claimed much of Hebbal's greenery.
Esthar Raj, a resident of SSA Road, is visibly hurt as she talks about how bald the highway to the airport looks after the Hebbal flyover. The interior roads too have little greenery left as open spaces have given way to residential buildings. The parks and playgrounds scattered over the constituency are facing the same predicament. The place has been ripped off its rich tree cover, she says.
"But what's more shocking is that no one is bothered about it," says Esthar. A decade ago, there was a lake behind Baptist Hospital, she racalls. Now it has been gobbled up by high-rises. She will not rate the constituency more than one, on a scale of one to ten where one is the lowest and ten is the highest.
Guru Prasad, a resident of Vishwanath Nagenahalli, estimates that the constituency as a whole has lost about 60% of greenery to buildings. Hebbal Lake, although much emaciated today, is the lone cool spot and Lumbini Garden, the only green patch, left for residents.
Prasad rates the constituency four. Development has claimed some greenery but the governmental initiative can restore it to a large extent. The residents of this northern suburb long for parks and open spaces which they view as pre-requisites for a quality life. Hence, attention must be focused on setting up more playgrounds, he says.
Blaming the government and citizens for the loss of green cover, environmentalist Suresh Heblikar recalls how the whole place was an agrarian belt not long ago. Real estate boom lured inhabitants into selling their lands for a dream-sum and move away into interiors with wads of cash.
"The present condition of Hebbal constituency clearly shows that satellite maps were not used for planning. This was a low-lying area with a large number of seasonal water bodies. They have been replaced by high rise commercial and residential buildings," he says.
According to him, official apathy to environment is the underlying cause of the area growing bald. Heblikar gives it a rating of four. Concerted efforts by citizens, corporate managements and the corporation should be initiated to grow greenery in this prestigious place which is emerging as the corridor to the fastest-growing suburbs of Bangalore North.
Anandnagar in Hebbal ward is a shining example of well-laid out, green-covered residential locality. Anandnagar Welfare Association's secretary Krishnan Kutty proudly says that his area remains the only green stretch in the whole neighbourhood.
Since most parts of the area have private layouts, there are very few parks and playgrounds. The parks that have survived the attack of land sharks are not maintained well.

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