Arkavathi, Kumudvathi buffer zones cut by half

The state government has narrowed the ecological buffer zone around the Arkavathi and Kumudvathi rivers by 50%, in a jolt to protection efforts.

The state government has narrowed the ecological buffer zone around the Arkavathi and Kumudvathi rivers by 50%, in a jolt to protection efforts. (File Photo)

The state government has narrowed the ecological buffer zone around the Arkavathi and Kumudvathi rivers by 50%, in a jolt to protection efforts.

The decision — made days before the government fell — ignores suggestions by the Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) and leaves activists concerned about the water bodies.

“This will lead to rampant urbanisation in the command area and affect rejuvenation,” an activist said.

EMPRI report

EMPRI’s report on the Thippagondanahalli reservoir command area and the buffer zone was submitted in 2015. The institute prepared the report after the government directed it to investigate the issue.

In its 2003 notification, the forest department had banned all construction and non-agricultural activities in the reservoir’s command area. The landowners approached the court, prompting the state government to direct EMPRI for the report.

In the report, the institute asked the government to continue with the forest department’s ban until it sets up an authority to protect the two rivers.

“Any relaxation will lead to (the) mushrooming of layouts and commercial complexes... removing the possibility of the rejuvenation of the rivers,” the report stated.

The government’s decision to cut two kilometres of the buffer zones on either side of the rivers was taken at a meeting chaired by the outgoing Bengaluru Development Minister, G Parameshwara.

Protected area cut

While the one-kilometre protected area in zone 3 was cut to 500 metres, the protected area in zone 4 was brought down from 1 km-2 km to 500 metres. The restriction on industries in zone 4 has also been removed.  

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