BNP eco-zone area shrunk despite protests

BNP eco-zone area shrunk despite protests

Despite objections by various citizens' groups a couple of months ago, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) resolved to recommend the draft notification for finalisation. (DH File Photo)

The Centre has accepted the state government's recommendation to reduce the Eco-Sensitive Zone around Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) despite strong opposition from activists.

Despite objections by various citizens' groups a couple of months ago, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) resolved to recommend the draft notification for finalisation.

The state government had recommended the reduction of ESZ from the earlier 268.9 sq km (2016) to 168.84 sq km (2018). With support by various organisations under the banner SaveBannerghatta, citizens had petitioned to the MoEF and submitted several objections against the decision.

Though the experts’ committee at the Centre suggested extending the area of the proposed SEZ towards Bengaluru, officials from the state forest department cited human habitation in the adjoining areas and chose to go with the latest notification.

DH had reported how the government was overlooking its own 2016 notification and was trying to favour stone quarrying activities, which had reduced the ESZ area in its Insight column on December 15, 2018. 

Citizens are now considering approaching the Supreme Court to stall the decision. N R Suresh, director, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, told DH, “It's a classic example of the lack of will and bureaucratic apathy. It looks like the MoEF has blindly accepted what the state has recommended. We are all aware of the development and are exploring legal options to challenge the decision.”

At the same meeting, the meeting resolved to finalise the draft ESZ notification for Sharavathi Valley Sanctuary in Sagar, Daroji Bear sanctuary in Hosapete, Chincholi Sanctuary in Kalaburagi and Biligiriranganathaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRT) in Chamarajanagar with ESZ area.