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City may lose bio-diversity spot

A five-storey government building is expected to come up on this green landat Padil, Mangaluru.— PHOTO: By Special Arrangement

A five-storey government building is expected to come up on this green landat Padil, Mangaluru.— PHOTO: By Special Arrangement  

Land at Padil has been chosen for a five-storey government office

Even as Mangaluru City Corporation is vying to make the city a smart one under the Smart City project, it is on the verge of losing a green patch with several species of bio-diversity, including six species of frogs.

Open space or lung space is one of the 21 features of a Smart City under the project being taken up by the Union government.

This bio-diversity is on 5.89 hectares of land at Padil where the government has taken steps to build a five-storey complex for government offices. The government has entrusted construction to the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB).

A senior official of the KHB told The Hindu that it invited bids on September 30 this year for civil works estimated at Rs. 33.79 crore for the proposed complex. The government has sanctioned Rs. 41 crore for the project.

Hareesh Joshy, a retired professor of zoology, St. Aloysius College and a researcher on frogs, who discovered a new Western Ghats species of frog named Euphlyctis aloysii five years ago, said that the project land at Padil has 478 trees, creepers, ferns and orchids, six species of frogs, birds, reptiles. They were found during a survey of the land by a team, including himself, Daniel Tauro, an environmental activist, some students and teachers of departments of Botony and Zoology of St. Aloysius College, about four months ago.

Mr. Joshy said that it is not wise to destroy all these bio-diversity and build a complex there. Is it possible for the corporation or the district administration to raise such a natural bio-diversity artificially, he asked.

He said that there was no point in developing any other lung space or greenery in the city under the Smart City project by allowing a natural bio-diversity spot to perish permanently.

The former professor said that the government should develop the land as “visitors’ paradise” by conserving it and introducing animals such as rabbit and deer. The city could make a difference under the Smart City project only if it conserved such natural lung space and further developed it.

Toddy cat, fox, Robin bird, Kingfisher, Peacock, Bulbul, Wood Pecker, Sunbird, Koel, Parakeet, Tailor bird and monitor lizards were found during the survey, he said.

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