The Bangalore University campus which is one of the last remaining open spaces in the once Garden City of Bengaluru is now under threat. Along with the destruction of the green habitat, the pristine Vrishabhavathi river which flows through the campus, has turned into a drain in recent years and is being further encroached upon.
Illegal dumping of construction debris on the edge of the river and felling of trees at night are the principal reasons, as the civic authorities have turned mute spectators.
TJ Renuka Prasad from the Department of Geology, Bangalore University and coordinator of the Biodiversity Park inside the campus, spotted the miscreants recently and stopped one tractor full of debris from reaching the river bank.
â€śThis dumping is going on unabated. The river is shrinking in width as a result of these activities and it will lead to large-scale flooding. This is a matter of real concern for us. The river comes from the north (Peenya side) and then flows through the campus for 2.2 km and goes along down the Mysore Road. Vehicles are making their way through the unguarded compound of the university premises from Nagarabhavi and Mysore Road sides,â€ť he said.
He added, â€śThe most affected area is through a parcel of disputed land near the Gandhi Bhavan behind the NLS (National Law School). I have written to the BBMP Storm Water Drain Department and also requested the University Registrar to complain to the Forest Cell of police.â€ť
Vijay Nishanth, an urban ecologist who visited the spot said that Bangalore University has become a hub for land mafia. â€śDumping happens day and night. In every nook and corner, they are dumping the debris and trying to reduce the area of what used to be Vrushabhavathi. Today, it is called Kengeri mori (gutter) because of all this.â€ť
â€śOther than this, there is the issue of sand mining in the river bed which is happening even in broad daylight,â€ť he added.
Encroachment of the university land is however not new. Recently, to check these encroachments, the University administration had decided to geo-tag the entire campus with the help of CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds.
In 2017, then University Registrar KN Ningegowda had estimated that more than a thousand acres of University land was encroached upon by politicians, BBMP, temple committees and real estate companies.
Previously, Renuka Prasad, when he was working as a special officer for land protection (additional charge) in 2012, had also prepared a detailed report on 227 acres of land getting encroached.