Campaigners discuss how to reclaim 70 acres of encroached land
O n Sunday morning, 14 wildlife enthusiasts gathered at Turahalli forest, located off Kanakapura Road and launched the ‘Save Turahalli Forest’ campaign in order to protect the forest from encroachment.
The campaigners brainstormed on how to retrieve the encroached land besides discussing how to collaborate with the forest department to save the area.
The campaign aims at motivating the Karnataka Forest Department to recover the 70 acres that has been encroached upon in the Turahalli Reserve Forest. It is one of the few lung spaces in the sprawling metropolitan city with a number of animal and bird species like spotted deer, black naped hare and reptiles.
Joseph Hoover, wildlife activist and former State Wildlife Advisory Board member, says, “This was our first meeting. We are working towards filing RTIs and collecting necessary documents before getting involved in the ongoing case and working with the forest department.”
The campaign will be taken to other vanishing green patches in the city after the success of the present campaign. The British had earmarked 590 acres as a reserve forest in 1935. Apart from losing 70 acres, there is immense pressure from politicians and bureaucrats on the forest department to allocate land for residential layouts. “We want more people to join this campaign to save whatever little is left of Bengaluru’s precious lung space. No campaign will be successful without the community’s support,” Hoover adds.
S Santhosh Narayan, advocate and wildlife enthusiast who is a core member in the campaign, says, “Out of the 590 acres, some portions have been already encroached and the forest department is working towards getting it back. Yet last week, we came across another case of encroachment by a politician. We will have a meeting with the officials this week and then decide our next step. We are also ready to present ourselves as parties in the ongoing court case for the Turahalli reserve forest.”
On August 23, Hoover had thwarted encroachment attempts by encroachers who sought to build shelters for shepherds. Officials had later confirmed that the encroachment was being done with the permission of Muniraju, former corporator. However, he had denied claims.
This is an unedited news that first appeared on bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com