Karnataka Government - Don't destroy #Hesaraghatta Grasslands

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300 acres of pristine nature might soon make way for a theme park, film city and a golf course. The Karnataka Government has approved the proposal to convert natural grasslands in Hesaraghatta into a commercial area. 

The department of Animal Husbandry, Government of Karnataka owns about 305 acres land at Kodihalli Village, Doddaballapura Taluk, which is the last remaining piece of grassland around Bangalore.  

Hesaraghatta is the last remaining grassland in and around Bangalore and requires immediate protection. These grasslands are a unique and threatened ecosystem that supports very specialized flora and fauna including birds of prey that migrate from Europe and Central Asia in winter as well as the recently rediscovered Schedule 1 Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indicus) – one of India’s most threatened birds. These life forms will disappear when the grasslands are destroyed or disturbed. 

In a recent report, a committee constituted by the Planning Commission has stated that “grasslands and deserts are the most neglected ecosystems by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), which looks after biodiversity conservation in India”.

These grasslands also provide valuable ecosystem services to the residents of Bangalore. It is a very important catchment area for the lake at Hesaraghatta. Protection of this area is also critical to the proposed rejuvenation of the Arkavathy river basin. Government has recently called for tenders to start work of rejuvenation of Arkavathy. Any development on this land will be detrimental to the rejuvenation of river Arkavathy.

All these factors make the area a very important and sensitive ecological zone.

The grasslands face severe threats like littering by picnicking groups, highly damaging film shooting, vehicle & equipment testing by army/defence.

In the latest budget of the state presented by the Chief Minister recently there is a proposal to develop a 'theme park' on the said land. Any development on this Interstitial Zone (IZ)* will be detrimental to both the biodiversity of these grasslands as well as the rejuvenation of river Arkavathy – and to the efforts to quench the thirst of Bangalore.

We are writing to request you to ask the state government to stop the plans for the development of a theme park /film city and give a no-objection certificate to declare this area as a protected zone.

This would be a great service for the future of the region and city.

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