Friday, August 22, 2008

Bangalore’s hunger for land threatens forest patches too

Bangalore’s hunger for land threatens forest patches too

Sharath S. Srivatsa

Confusion over clear demarcation of land leads to encroachments

Bangalore Rural district has a forest cover of 45,000 acres

Protection of land from public has been the main concern of the authorities

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Threatened: Forests in Bangalore Rural are under tremendous pressure as land value has increased phenomenally.

BANGALORE: Growing pressure on land in the periphery of Bangalore is not only consuming agriculture fields, but is also threatening to encroach upon the last few patches of forests land, especially under social forestry in high growth areas of Devanahalli and Hoskote taluks, and confusion over the ownership of land is further causing trouble.

Bangalore Rural district has a forest cover of around 45,000 acres spread across Nelamangala, Hoskote, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli taluks that are mostly raised under social forestry. These patches of forests are under eucalyptus, acacia, neem and other local species that also harbour small wildlife. Original forests in the nature of shrub forests are found in Doddaballapur and areas adjoining Magadi taluk in Ramanagara district.
Under pressure

“Forests in Bangalore Rural are under tremendous pressure, as land value has increased phenomenally in recent years. We are trying to identify encroachments and removing them, and in most cases it would be the owner of a neighbouring plot who would have encroached upon the forest land,” Bangalore Rural Deputy Conservator of Forests Krishna Udupudi told The Hindu.

He said that protection of land from public has been the main concern, as everyone around is trying to encroach, and recently encroachments of forest plantations at Koramangala in Devanahalli taluk were cleared. “Normally, 15 to 20 acres of land are encroached upon by individuals. We are trying to remove smaller encroachments, and others that could create law and order problems would be dealt later,” he added.

Officials say that the forests are on the revenue land given to the department a couple of decades ago for development of social forestry, which were subsequently notified as forest land.

According to officials, Nelamangala has around 10,000 acres of forest land while Doddaballapur has around 15,000 acres. Hoskote and Devanahalli have 12,000 acres and 8,000 acres of land respectively.

Confusion over the clear demarcation of land is said to be one of the prime reasons leading to encroachments. Mr. Udupudi said: “In several areas, the part of notified forest land, gomala and land allotted to land less under land grant scheme come in the same survey number making problems more complex.” If the forest land has been encroached upon a couple of decades back, it is very difficult to remove such encroachments, he added.

Among the wildlife found in Bangalore Rural district include small animals such as pangolins, barking deer, rabbits, porcupines and wild boars apart from birdlife comprising peacocks, and reptiles. “Occasionally, we find sloth bears migrating to Bangalore Rural district from neighbouring Ramanagara,” he said.

“The contiguous patches of forests are found in Doddaballapur and Nelamangala. Patches of forests ranging between 200 acre and 600 acres of land are found here, which also supports small wildlife. Ghati Subramanya and Makali Durga region have large patches of natural shrub forests. Most of the small wildlife found around Bangalore can also survive in agriculture fields where forest cover is less,” Mr. Udupudi said.


Post a Comment

<< Home