Heritage tag may save GKVK from land sharks

The Karnataka Biodiversity Board has declared the campus, also known as the Gandhi Krishi Vijnana Kendra (GKVK), a heritage site under Section 37 (i) of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. The greens hope the declaration will dissuade land grabbers and spare the campus from commercialisation and urbanisation.

The actual heritage site covers 14 patches of the varsity, including 40 hectares of scrub forest, 28 acres of parks and 99 hectares of plantation and orchards.

The State Department of Environment, Ecology and Forests in its notification dated September 2, 2010, states: “Excluding the buildings and other infrastructure, the 412 acres (167 hectares) have been extensively developed with a wide variety of agricultural and biotechnology research plots, and nurtured as a landscape to support wide range of flora and fauna. The GKVK campus is considered one of the greenest areas in Bangalore.”
Observing that the varsity’s research activities have supported a wide range of germplasm, the department noted that the GKVK campus had evolved into a botanical garden featuring nearly 600 species of plants and trees. “The biodiversity of the campus constitutes a critical repository of various forms of flora and fauna, which needs to be protected and nurtured to posterity.”

A survey conducted by the varsity has also revealed that the campus has about 13 species of mammals, ten species of reptiles, 165 species of birds and over 500 species of plants, besides a wide botanical variety.

UAS  vice-chancellor Dr Narayanagowda says: “This campus has germplasm of crops such as ragi, pulses, rice, oil seeds, millets. Different genotypes of fruits like mango, jackfruit, tamarind and other fruits are available here.”

He says the campus, a haven for a wide range of birds, mammals and insects, is endangered by rapid urbanisation and deforestation.

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