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In a relief for environmentalists, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Bengaluru, SS Ravishankar, on Thursday issued a temporary stay on felling of 6,316 trees on the banks of Singanayakanahalli Lake in Yelahanka. TNM had reported that a public notification, issued by the Forest Department on June 14 for the Hebbal Nagawara project, had invited objections within 10 days. Owing to the widespread opposition to the tree felling, the DCF has extended the time to file objections by another 20 days. A senior forest official confirmed the development and said that the public consultation process for the project will be held physically three months down the line. Those who wish to send their objections to the lake development project can do so to dcfurban82@yahoo.co.in.

These decisions by the DCF came following a petition filed by Namma Bengaluru foundation (NBF), led by General Manager Vinod Jacob; Vijay Nishanth, an urban conservationist; and Bengaluru-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Jhatkaa.org. In a letter addressed to Ravishankar SS, and the Bengaluru DCF, the authors spoke about a visit they had given to the concerned lake, with a group of people including environmentalists, experts and local citizens.

Listing out their findings, NBF requested for the trees to be kept as they were and continue the rejuvenation project. “We completely support the lake rejuvenation project but not at the cost of destruction of ecology and habitat,” the letter read. “There has also been a short-sighted approach to the entire project with haste to cut down 6,316 trees. It is our request that the lake be rejuvenated without affecting the trees and the ecology prevalent at the site,” it added. 

As per the observations made by these activists, the trees are protecting the catchment area which has been recharging the groundwater for decades, which has been used by nearby villages for generations. 

Vijay Nishanth, who is also a member of the city’s Biodiversity Committee, told TNM, “We got ourselves more time. This also shows that we can win because our cause is right. We need more and more people to join us against this. I urge all citizens to take this seriously and send in their objections. It will only make our case stronger.” 

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