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Bengaluru: Govt bows to public pressure, puts on hold tree park project

Govt bows to public pressure, puts on hold tree park project
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Govt bows to public pressure, puts on hold tree park project 

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Bengaluru: The proposed tree park project in Turahalli minor forest has been temporarily halted. The decision comes in the wake of a request made by Mi...

Bengaluru: The proposed tree park project in Turahalli minor forest has been temporarily halted. The decision comes in the wake of a request made by Minister for Cooperation S.T. Somashekar and MLA Krishnappa to Forest Minister Arvind Limbavali to drop the project.

Limbavali and Somashekar inspected the forest on Thursday after which the forest minister announced that the tree park project will be taken up elsewhere.

"I will discuss the issue with the chief minister.

I always respect the wishes of the people. The State government's proposal to set up a tree park in Turahalli minor forest snowballed into a huge protest by citizens.

In a letter to the Additional Chief Secretary (forest, ecology and environment) the president of Project Vruksha Foundation and Bengaluru Biodiversity Board member Vijay Nishanth stated that the project is in contravention of Forest Conservation Act.

In a list of guidelines issued by the State government for the setting up of a tree park, it was clarified that the tree park scheme was apt to protect forest land. "Even though protection of forest land is desirable, achieving the same through the tree park scheme, in general, is not appropriate," the guideline quotes.

The further quote taken from the guidelines with respect to the size of the land says, "Forest lands, when available, are in large parcels of land. This leads to the temptation for converting entire available land as tree park.

It should be understood that only 10-20 Ha of the area is utilized effectively in a tree park. Thus tree park should ideally be between 5 to 15 Ha. However, if land is available inside the city, tree park can be on one Ha also."

Project Vruksha president, Vijay Nishanth said that the lung space can't be compromised with. "The government should listen to the people. It is highly objectionable to create these tree parks in the last remaining vestiges of degraded forests. This is a good step by the forest minister."

Abdul Aleem, president, Changemakers of Kanakapura road said, "We are very thankful to all the people who have turned out in large numbers to give a clear message to the government that tree park is not required in a forest.

We thank the government for hearing peoples' plea. We hope that the government will revert back to us soon on the news of the permanent halt of this project."

The Hans India broke the news of the project and had covered the issue in detail thrice.

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