In yet another assault on the last remaining green spaces of Bengaluru, a part of the green space inside Bangalore University‚Äôs Jnanabharathi is being sacrificed to make way for two new buildings. This after 17 acre of the bio-park has been allocated for University of Yogic Sciences and to CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) to build a Centre for the organisation in south India.
Activists, students, professors and neighbourhood walkers are unhappy after authorities greenlighted the two projects, especially given it is also one of the last few biodiversity-rich college campuses that are left in India. They have questioned why vacant government land could not be used for the same purpose.
‚ÄúThe entire Bangalore University had been declared as Biodiversity Park by the Government of Karnataka in 2017 and had been communicated to the Bangalore University. Keeping this in mind 14 additional bio-park patches have been developed by individuals and non-government bodies," said TJ Renuka Prasad, former coordinator of the bio-park and a professor at the university.
‚ÄúThe 100-acre park was set up in 2001 and is home to 600 species of endangered species trees, most of which are anti-viral. To destroy them during the COVID-19 pandemic is criminal,‚ÄĚ he added.
Incidentally, the work has already started in the first of the 14 additional patches of the park.
"We had created Bengaluru's largest carbon sink with over 25 years of hard work. Neither the state government nor the university has spent a rupee on it. People have contributed and participated in planting. We cannot lose this lung space," said Yellappa Reddy, former top IFS officer and founder of Bangalore Environment Trust.
Joseph Hoover, a former member of the State Wildlife Board and green activist said other than endangered trees, activists say that the park has 148 species of butterfly and 149 species of birds and along with other animals. ‚ÄúThere are hundreds of peacocks. Black-naped hare in this biodiverse landscape,‚ÄĚ Hoover added.
TNM could not reach V-C KR Venugopal for a comment.