EIA of the 8561 trees
In June 2020, three professors from Azim Premji University conducted a Rapid Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the entire project stretch of 155.21km and the following environmental issues associated with this project came to light:
The road-widening project will lead to
- Health issues from increased pollution
- Urban heat islands
- Loss of heritage trees
- Loss of urban biodiversity
- Threat to forest ecosystems
- Loss of religious places
- Threat to lakes and
- Reduction in carbon sequestration
- The proposed stretches pass through crucial biodiversity habitats that include the Jamasundra Mini Forest and the Anekal Reserve Forest contiguous with the Bannerghatta National Park, as well as scrubland and agricultural fields. Disturbances of these stretches can negatively impact fauna including the endangered Slender Loris accorded protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Recently, a Slender Loris was rescued by the residents of Sarjapura through which a large section of the proposed new State Highway passes. Residents have also recorded other species such as the palm civet, the Indian Hare and the Indian Jackal in the area.
- The total number of trees that will be felled along the 155.21 km, is likely to be much higher than the estimated 8,561 trees. The Report records that there is a systematic mismatch with tree numbers surveyed stretches being higher than those in the Pr-Feasibility report and news reports.
- There are several massive heritage trees on these stretches, the loss of which will be irreplaceable. The Report records two massive Banyan trees with a girth of 14.9, and 17.7m, an impressive 50 feet tall Banyan tree on the road from Nelamangala to Madure. One Banyan tree on Besthamanahalli to Hoskote stretch has a girth of 10m. Other tree species that will be lost include peepul, Mysore fig, raintree, need, teak, tamarind and Jamun.
- 15 scared ‘Ashwathkattes’ marked for removal. ‘Ashwathkattes’ are raised platforms with neem and peepul trees and snake shrines at their base that have immense religious and social significance for residents
- Impact on 14 lakes was recorded. The road-widening project will severely affect groundwater recharge, flood control and biodiversity in these lakes. The resulting environmental deterioration will also impact the livelihoods of local grazers and fishermen
- During the time of the study, it was observed that road work has already begun and several large and old trees have been cut to lopped in three stretches: Bannerghatta to Besthmanahalli, Kanchugaranahalli to Jigani and Budigere Cross to Mylanahalli. In the Kanchugaranahalli to Jigani 51 trees were found to have been cut already.
- The report further notes that lack of systematic planning for transportation infrastructure in cities like Bengaluru should ideally move after demonstrated need, rigorous attention to specific details and efforts to minimize and mitigate the impact and transparency.
Because of this assesment, we were able to take KRDCL to court. Read more about the court case here.
This is going to be a long battle with significant costs that include legal fees, research and more. Support Jhatkaa.org in winning this, for a greener, more sustainable Bengaluru.