Saturday, June 30, 2007

Layout eats up forest land, cleared

ayout eats up forest land, cleared

Bannerghatta: If you are among the 160 people who booked a site at Indranagar Layout off Bannerghatta Road, you’ve lost it to the forest department. The entire layout is now part of the Bannerghatta National Park.
In a massive eviction operation by the forest department on Friday, 124 acres and 2 guntas of Bhuthanahalli (survey No. 64) under Kalkere state forest section of Bannerghatta wildlife range, including Indranagar Layout, were added back to the forest area.
Temporary structures on 19.24 acres of Indranagar Layout were demolished and what remains is a government school and Hebbalamma temple, which will also be shifted soon. During eviction, 63 people were booked for encroaching forest land and asked to evacuate at the earliest. FIRs have also been issued to layout developers, K V Krishna Murthi, Siddaiah, Puttaswamy, Mohamad Raffee and Kenchaiah, all residents of Bannerghatta and Anekal.
“The eviction has been carried out as per the directions of the joint legislative committee on land encroachments. We have already demarcated the forest boundary and about 2.5 km of Elephant Proof Trench (EPT) has been excavated on the boundary of the protected area,’’ BNP executive director Vanashri Vipin Singh, told The Times of India. What has taken into the custody is less than 15 per cent of encroached land in three ranges — Bannerghatta, Harohalli and Anekal — of the park.
About 675 acres and 8 guntas of forest land remain encroached in different parts of the forest. “We have identified the encroached land portions and about 555 cases have been booked. We’ll soon add the same land to the forest,’’ she said. Once demolition is complete, the department will go in for massive plantation of bamboo, pongamia and prosopis juliflora (Bellary jaali) in the evicted area.
The Bannerghatta National Park, smallest of all national parks in India (104 sqkm), is a major corridor for elephants coming from the forests of Tamil Nadu.
Indranagar Layout
Around 150 individuals have purchased sites in Indranagar Layout. Most of them were policemen, lawyers and government servants. A site of 30x40 sqft cost them Rs 75,000 and a 50x80 sqft site cost around Rs 1 lakh in 2005.
The forest area demarcation was identified using satellite maps. The data provided by the state remote sensing agency was used to identify the encroachments around the national park.
The BNP will soon allow wildlife enthusiasts to go on safari rides.
Two trekking paths have been marked and a safari inside the elephant kingdom would be a dream come true for Bangaloreans. A new website on BNP will be launched soon.


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