‘Vanishing lakes will increase dependence on the Cauvery’
Attributing increasing dependence on the Cauvery waters by Bangalore residents to vanishing lakes, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Thursday underlined the need to protect and preserve existing lakes.
Delivering the valedictory address at the 58th Wildlife Week jointly organised by Department of Forests and Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, he regretted that water bodies in the State were fast disappearing because of encroachment and construction activity for urban infrastructure expansion.
Some of the lakes in Bangalore were in fairly advanced state of deterioration. People, who were once dependent on lakes for their water needs, now crave Cauvery waters, he said. The recent Cauvery protests were testimony to their water insecurity, he said and added that “it is nothing but man-made disaster.”
Mr. Bhardwaj stressed the need to protect forest, wildlife and rivers. Immediate steps should be taken to protect forest areas in the catchments of rivers, or the “monsoon would play truant in the days to come,” he said.
Mr. Bhardwaj also called upon the people against polluting rivers, which were the lifeline of the community.
Criticising the trend to cut trees for plantation purpose, he explained how he shot down a proposal to clear some portion of a forest area for development of plantation area.
Speakers, including forest officials, expressed concern over increasing man and animal conflict in the recent years and stressed the need to address the issueeffectively in the interest of both human beings and wildlife.
Deepak Sarmah, Principal Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, said that earlier the department was focussed on controlling crime against wildlife, now the department was concerned over growing man and animal conflict, as it had become a pestering problem in many parts of the State.
Pressure on wildlife was increasing because of encroachment of forest land and the need of the hour was to minimise occurrence of man and animal conflict, by taking appropriate steps, he said.
The former Test cricketer and Co-Vice- Chairman State Board for Wildlife Anil Kumble said that protecting forest resources was a great challenge.
He called upon educational institutions to create awareness among the children on the need to protect forest wealth and wildlife.
Chairman, Zoo Authority of Karnataka M. Nanjundaswamy, said that the authority was setting up a conservation centre for Indian Gaur in an area of 113 acres at Kurgalli near Mysore.
The Governor, who distributed prizes to students of various schools who participated in competitions held in connection with wildlife week, released brochures and publicity material brought out to create awareness among the people on the need to protect wildlife.