Spanning over 100 sq km and located just 21km from the heart of the city, the sprawling Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) has much to keep visitors enthused. However, illegal mining, tree felling and encroachments are threatening the park and could prove to be hazardous to its inhabitants, feel environmentalists and citizens.
Conservationist Vishnu Narain has started a petition on Change.Org, asking the forest and mines and geology departments to take steps to save the park. The plea has already garnered the support of over 1,600 people.
Considering its proximity to Bengaluru, BNP’s importance as a green belt cannot be underemphasized. It moderates the city’s climate, makes it livable and therefore is a sought-after investment hub as well. Given the fact that BNP is contiguous with other protected areas, the safety zone should be 2km. Despite this, granite mining continues unabated within the safety zone. This is being done in violation of high court orders with reference to safe zones around the national park. Not respecting the orders amounts to contempt of court, the petition says.
It also highlights the biological and ecological importance of the park and goes on to list the inhabitants. “As a terminal point on the northern side of Mysore Elephant Reserve, BNP is also a corridor for the movement of Asian elephants which migrate from the adjacent Cauvery wildlife sanctuary and Krishnagiri and Hosur forest divisions in Tamil Nadu,”the petition says.
The park is a crucial watershed for streams and hence, its protection is of utmost importance, adds the petition..