22 Mar. 04
The Turahalli Minor Forest in Bangalore South is a unique assemblage of rocks and scrub jungle, representative of endemic forest growth of the region. It is also a place of unique value to rock-climbers, as the rockfaces offer many unique surfaces to learners as well as professional climbers. Naturalists have enjoyed this area for a very long period, and have extensive lists of the wide variety of bird and butterfly species that are found here. Elephants have often taken refuge in this forest, while the place is home to many small mammals and a variety of reptiles.
In recent years, Turaahalli has been ravaged on its fringes by a variety of urban developments. The surrounding landscape which was full of wooded farms, has been reduced to barren sites, most of which are illegal developments.
Recently the Bangalore Development Authority has started expanding the Banashanakari VI Stage Layout into the foothills of Turahalli, and it has also encroached into the forest area. Encouraged by Government agencies being so callous about State Property, many other private developers have also started making inroads into the forest. In addition, there are at least two temples that have come up, and are being expanded.
Turahalli is an unique patch of forest that has to be protected, regenerated and available for people to experience its enchantment and appreciate the role of forests. It has excellent potential for Bangalore to make it a centre for environmental education. For all of this to succeed, it must remain a forest, with its boundaries protected. We would like to know what action is being proposed in support of these possibilities.
In addition, we understand that you have filed two cases (Case No. 19 on 21 Jan 2004 and Case No. 20 on 26 Jan 2004) against the Land Acquisition Officer of Bangalore Development Authority, for encroaching into Survey No.s 42 of Turahalli and 5 of Uttarahalli Manvarter Kaval. We would appreciate details of how these cases are proceeding and whether the officials involved have been booked for violations of Forest Conservation Act and the Hon'ble Supreme Court's directions in this regard.
We will be most willing to assist in every manner to ensure Turahalli remains protected.
Leo F. Saldanha Bhargavi S. Rao Deepashree
Environment Support Group
1) Secretary, Dept of Forests, Government of Karnataka
2) Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bangalore Urban
3) Commissioner, Bangalore Development Authority