The Government of Karnataka recently announced that 6316 fully grown trees on the banks of the Singanayakanahalli would be felled to develop the lake into a feeder lake for several lakes in the vicinity and also to feed treated water for irrigation. This decision by the Government was without providing adequate time for proper public consultation.
In response, Namma Bengaluru Foundation led a team of urban conservationists, citizen scientists, artists, citizen activists, wildlife enthusiasts and wildlife photographers visited Singanayakanahalli lake. This group was led by Vinod Jacob, General Manager, NBF, Vijay Nishanth, Urban Conservationist and other volunteers who studied the area.
The group was pleasantly surprised to note that the banks of the lake has evolved into an ecologically diverse area in a self-sustaining manner. They were astonished to find the thick dense forest like foliage and full grown trees which are over 25-30 years old with various birds, bird nests, moths, and butterflies. They also spotted peacocks which is a schedule 1 wildlife species on the ground. They also found a few endangered species of birds in the area. This forest has been inhabited by all of them and has become a lively habitat. This area also has a large grassland where cattle from the neighbouring villages graze. A couple of years back the forest department had taken interest in this land and planted Pongam saplings amidst the natural flora which is visible.
While Namma Bengaluru Foundation and its partners completely support the lake rejuvenation project, but it should not be at the cost of destruction of the trees and the greenery. The above findings have not been listed in the documents which is shared in the (aranya.gov.in) website. There has also been a short-sighted approach to the entire project to hastily axe 6316 trees.
Namma Bengaluru Foundation and its citizen groups, volunteers strongly urge the DCF BBMP and Forest Department to investigate this matter of concern and arrive at a consensus to save these trees and the natural habitat. The citizens of Bengaluru are distraught with the rapid concretization of the city and axing of thousands of trees which will be an ecological disaster. NBF and its partners will not allow the felling of the trees at any cost. They request the citizens to join them in supporting and appealing to the Chief Minister, Ministers and Government officials to refrain from taking any action and consult citizens and experts before any action is taken on this lake. The trees are protecting the catchment area which has been recharging the groundwater for decades. This ecosystem has supported the nearby villages for many generations. NBF with Jhatkha.org is taking up a petition and would like to garner support of all citizens to take this matter seriously and support this petition to find a solution to this crisis. We already have 10900 citizens joining us on the signature campaign for the Singanayakanahalli trees: http://bit.ly/save6316treesnow
We request them to refrain from half-hearted attempts and initiate a proper full-fledged public consultation of three months, considering the pandemic, and give the citizens time to come out with their complete detailed study of the area with technical advice from experts and to submit their report on this project.