Petition Title: Save Turahalli Minor Forest
Let Turahalli Minor Forest remain a Forest, not become a Tree Park
Develop only the 35 acres Turahalli Tree Park for public access
Who are we petitioning?
Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yediyurappa
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka, Sanjai Mohan
Why is it important
Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yediyurappa announced Mission 2022 for Bengaluru in December 2020. The plan is to overhaul the city, including overhauling standing forests within the city limits to give the shape of a ’ Mega Tree Park’. The prime site chosen for this development is the last standing forest in Bengaluru - Turahalli Minor Forest(MF) near Kanakapura Road. The government has proposed 400 acres of the protected forest land for downgrading, with the intention of opening it up for the general public. A Tree Park is proposed to provide access to experience nature (natural and man-made), with amenities including 10kms walkway/path, entry arch on one side, toilets, canteen, parking lot, children’s play area, senior citizen’s gym, and yoga sites.
Tree Park at Turahalli Minor Forest is a bad idea. Here is why -
A tree park will relegate the sanctity of a forest.
Turahalli Minor Forest, along with Turahalli Reserve Forest, are the last remaining lung spaces of a nearly 100% concretized Bengaluru city.
The site has a unique dry deciduous floral diversity with more than 1.5 lakh trees in the site, an excellent site for carbon sequestration.
The forest is home to more than 120 species of birds, more than 29 species of butterflies, many species of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, bees and wasps. There have been instances of spotted deer and wild boar making a visit to this part of the forest. All these species of wildlife are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. These species would not thrive in a tree park as their natural habitat would be impacted.
The site is also the breeding and nesting ground of peacocks. As our national bird, peacock enjoys the utmost level of legal protection under Section 51 (1-A) of Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Their breeding and nesting grounds could be lost forever, causing them to perish locally.
The site, due to its undulating physical terrain and featured hillocks and naturally formed water channels, is an excellent site for water sequestration. The site, if diverted for a tree park, could lose its sequestration potential.
To protect the very site from increasing footfall and veer the public away, the Forest Department had broken 38 acres of Turahalli MF to create a tree park, inaugurated in 2011 but work picking up pace only in 2018. As of today, the tree park stands under-utilised.
Violation of Due Process
The Forest Department has to follow the approved Working Plan to take up any works. According to it, any non-forestry activity requires seeking additional clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 and is not considered. No such clearance is in place for the proposed Turahalli Tree Park
There has been no Detail Project Report (DPR) placed in the public domain for the proposed tree park.
There has been no Work Order (WO) issued for initiating non-forestry activities in a forested area, a clear violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 and several Hon’ble Supreme Court Directions, including directions passed in the case of W.P.(c)No- 202/1995.
So, what’s the solution people seek?
Let the last vestiges of forests, like Turahalli, remain a forest.
Afforest it with indigenous species of flora, while retaining it as a forest. Not by degrading it into a tree park.
Do not allow human activities at the cost of innumerous benefits of protecting the flora, fauna, water and carbon sequestration potential of Turahalli as a forest.
Develop the already existing 35 acres Turahalli Tree Park to permit all kinds of human activities, including nature walks, meditation, yoga, kids play areas and senior citizen’s gym.
Improve the existing natural water bodies in the forest on high priority for rainwater sequestration. The forest will thrive and also improve the groundwater table in the neighbourhood.
Work more on creating awareness about forests among citizens. Collaborate with concerned citizens and take their support in protecting and conserving the existing forests.
Sign the petition to save the last remaining forests of Bengaluru!
Here are additional resources to read from:
After sustained pressure from citizens, Ministers Aravind Limbavali and ST Somashekar have announced that the tree park project is halted. They are now in the process of looking for alternatives for the tree park.