Will govt declare Hesaraghatta grassland a reserved area?

Hesaraghatta is host to 133 types of birds and 40 local natural plants
Last Updated : 01 September 2022, 14:22 IST
Last Updated : 01 September 2022, 14:22 IST

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As the countdown begins for the September 5 meeting of the State Board for Wild Life, attention has turned to the government over its decision to protect the Hesaraghatta grassland.

In January 2021, the proposal to declare 5,010 acres as the Greater Hesaraghatta Grasslands Conservation Reserve under Section 36A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, was rejected due to objections from Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath.

The Karnataka High Court, however, quashed the board's order stating that the decision "reflects non-application of mind". The court has directed the board to take a fresh look at the proposal.

Sources in the board confirmed that the conservation of Hesaraghatta was part of the agenda. "The matter will be discussed. Ultimately, the decision is left to the government. We do hope that the grassland gets the much-needed protection in view of the growing pressure," the source said.

The government had entertained the idea of building a film city in the grassland. Once declared a reserve, the government has to constitute a management committee to advise the chief wildlife warden to conserve, manage and maintain the grassland, which hosts a unique ecosystem.

As per the biodiversity report submitted during the previous meeting, Hesaraghatta is host to 133 types of birds and 40 local natural plants. The Animal Husbandry Department, which holds the title of the majority of the grassland, has given its consent to declare it a reserve.

Wildlife photographer and activist Mahesh Bhat, who has worked extensively on the Hesaraghatta and studied its role as a catchment area, said protecting the grassland was necessary to ensure water security of people in the surrounding region.

Rainwater in lake

"Hesaraghatta has multiple positive roles. Bengaluru sees floods even during a marginally heavy rain, but the 60 mm rain recorded yesterday (Monday) is neatly stored in the lake," he said.

He also noted that it would make the second largest green space for Bengaluru, after Bannerghatta. "Studies have shown that grasslands sequester more carbon than forests. Considering the challenges of climate change, Hesaraghatta has a crucial role to play," he added.

Activist Vijay Nishanth said the government must complement people's commitment to protect the grassland. "This is an opportunity to set things right," he added.

An online petition on Jhatkaa.org, launched to mobilise support for a campaign seeking protection of the grassland, has seen 44,000 people endorsing the demand.

Published 30 August 2022, 17:51 IST

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