Forest dept rejects NHAI rd in Bannerghatta

Forest dept rejects NHAI rd in Bannerghatta

The Bannerghatta National Park

Forest officials have rejected the National Highway Authority of India’s elevated road project over Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) saying the fragmented forest patch is already under pressure.

After officials from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Karnataka Forest Department and NHAI’s visit to BNP on Tuesday, the forest department officials offered to help the road authority to help find an alternative route for the corridor to connect Bannerghatta with Kanakapura via Anekal and Harohalli.

NHAI officials, however, not convinced with the offer. “We need time, we will discuss the proposal with MoEF and NHAI and hold a discussion again,” said the NHAI team.

Under Bharat Mala project, the NHAI has proposed to provide seamless connectivity from Doddaballapur to Magadi Road via Devanahalli, Hoskotte, Anekal, Kanakapura and Magadi. They need the forest patch connecting Anekal to Harohalli for the project, where they proposed to build an elevated corridor on the existing 4.67 kms road passing through BNP.

The NHAI also asked the forest department to give 1km of forest land on either side of the existing road to erect pillars for the 10-lane road.

“NHAI claims to have obtained environmental clearance for the project, but they didn’t approach BNP to give clarification, recommendations or even suggestions. NHAI even refused to share the maps with us,” said a senior forest official.  

“If they construct an elevated corridor, what will happen to the hamlets residing around BNP? To provide them connectivity, more forest will be lost,” he added.

The official also pointed out that BNP is under pressure from proximity to Bengaluru, quarrying, sand mafia, encroachment and traffic issues. The forest is crucial as it is part of the elephant corridor, while it is also home to leopards, sloth bears and now a tiger. “Disturbance to this prime forest area would only have adverse effect,” warned the official.

On top of it, the BMRDA now says the NHAI ring road would run parallel with its STRR, with an official saying they need to discuss the proposal with NHAI and the forest department.

The project

  • NHAI proposes to build 4.67 kms elevated corridor between Anekal and Harohalli
  • NHAI also demands additional 1km land on either side of existing narrow road
  • NHAI proposes to spend Rs 700 crore on construction
  • Alternate land to forest department in lieu yet to be decided
  • Proposed ring road length- 178 kms

 

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