Impact of Peripheral Ring Road project on environment makes greens see red

To implement the project, diversion of 7.91 hectares of forest land in Jarakabande Kaval reserve — a prominent green patch in the northern part of Bengaluru — is required

July 29, 2022 02:45 am | Updated August 21, 2022 08:31 pm IST - Bengaluru

Jarakabande forest in north Bengaluru. A part of the forest land is expected to be used for the proposed Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) project.

Jarakabande forest in north Bengaluru. A part of the forest land is expected to be used for the proposed Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) project. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) project, if implemented, will take a huge toll on the environment. As per the environment impact assessment (EIA) report, a total of 36,824 trees will make way for the project.

The number of trees identified to make way for the project increased after the BDA changed the alignment and decided to acquire 750 acres of additional land. In 2020, the BDA had estimated that 33,833 trees would make way for building the 65 km road. After realignment of the road, the length of the road increased to 73.5 km. The report states that out of 36,824 trees coming in the way of the project, 13,355 trees fall in the Thippagondanahalli (T.G. Halli) reservoir catchment area and 631 trees fall in the Jarakabande reserve forest.

As per the plan, about 20.9 km of the proposed alignment passes through the Thippagondanahalli reservoir catchment area where Kumudavathy and Arkavathy river sub-catchment exists. The EIA report listed out several ‘anticipated impacts’ of the project in T.G. Halli catchment area.

“Disposal of sewage and solid waste from labour camps and construction waste are the predominant sources of pollution in the catchment area. Removal of 4,925 trees (excluding 7,113 eucalyptus trees) affects the hydrological regime and water quality in the catchment area. Deposition of dust, dumping of earthworks, debris, affects the quality of water and may cause blockage of existing drainage in the catchment area,” states the report.

To implement the project, diversion of 7.91 hectares of forest land in Jarakabande Kaval reserve forest is also required. Jarakabande Kaval is a prominent green patch located in northern part of the city. The forest attracts hundreds of visitors. Last year, the state government's proposal to open a tree park in Jarakabande Kaval forest had received stiff resistance.

The alignment of the PRR is located 7.21 km from the boundary of Bannerghatta National Park and 1.49 km from Puttenahalli Bird Conservation Reserve. The important avifaunal species recorded are darters, painted storks, black-crowned night herons, purple herons, pond herons, egrets, Asian openbill storks, Eurasian spoonbills, spot-billed pelican, little grebe, little cormorant, spot-billed ducks, purple moorhen and other water birds. The EIA report states that observations of endangered and migratory birds from the northern Himalayas and Siberia have also been made.

Environmentalist A.N Yellappa Reddy said, “It is very unfortunate that by diluting the laws, the state government is paving way for destruction of trees, including in the green belt, which was earlier notified. Allowing construction work in T.G. Halli catchment area will go against nature. The city is losing green cover, water bodies, wetlands at an alarming rate. This project was taken up just to promote real estate interest. Jarakabande Kaval losing hundreds of trees for the project is very disturbing. Over the years, hundreds of saplings were planted of various species, increasing the green cover, but now, they are becoming victims of development. These losses cannot be compensated in any form.” The report states that out of 36,824 trees, a total of 1,550 trees possessing cultural values such as Arali mara, Alada mara, Attimara, Hunase mara, Nerale, Bilvapatra, Bevu and Nelli with GBH more than 200 cm (girth measurement) are recorded.

Many farmers are of the opinion that trees that are going to be impacted are much higher than what has been identified in EIA. During a recent public hearing, the authorities were asked to make a comprehensive study on the impact on the environment and loss of the green cover.

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