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Citizens up in arms against tree park proposal in Turahalli forest

Citizens up in arms against tree park proposal in Turahalli forest
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Citizens up in arms against tree park proposal in Turahalli forest

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Bengaluru : The Karnataka Forest department's decision to convert Turahalli forest into a tree park met with resistance from locals who staged a prote...

Bengaluru : The Karnataka Forest department's decision to convert Turahalli forest into a tree park met with resistance from locals who staged a protest on Sunday.

The Hans India broke the story on December 27, 2020 about the tender invited by the department for the construction of a building at Turahalli minor forests to house an orchid collection and display center under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).

Locals say that though the tree park in itself is not a bad idea, setting it up inside the reserve forest is against all rules of the Forest Act.

"Instead, existing Turahalli Tree Park can be developed and maintained, or else many parks which are inside the city can be developed, many landfills and barren lands can be developed as tree parks, but not in flourishing Turahalli forest which is the last standing green cover of Bengaluru," they reason.

Aleem, President, Changemakers of Kanakapura road said, "PCCF has openly given statements to media that there will be parking lot, public toilets, etc. It should openly come out with the documentation on what is being planned in Turahalli."

Soumya, another concerned citizen from Save Turahalli group is anguished at the complete neglect of the forest area that grapples with no water during summer.

"A tree park was inaugurated during Sadananda Gowda's tenure as chief minister. That is in shambles and the funds allocated to develop it was diverted for Covid. Now, the government is eyeing this part of the forest. There is no water body inside the forest to quench the thirst of mammals and the hundreds of species inside.

Moreover, the fencing of the forest is incomplete and we see people getting inside. The forest should be taken care of and the plan to build tree park should be dropped," she said.

The Forest Conservation Act states that construction of any building inside a forest area is a non-forestry work and a prior permission from the forest department has to be obtained.

Even in the past Turahalli forest has not been left free from encroachment. In 2007, an official investigation concluded that the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had encroached on 35 acres of the deciduous forest to pave way for a residential layout.

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