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Post at: Jul 12 2021

Hebbal-Nagawara Valley Project Karnataka

Recent Context 

  • TheKarnataka State Forest Department, in a recent notification in June 2021, proposed to felled 6,316 trees to rejuvenate the Singanayakanahalli lake(at Yelahanka hobli, Bengaluru), because they are coming in way of this project.It has caused outrage among city residents and environmental activists.
  • Also in response, Environmental activist Greta Thunberg-backed Fridays For Future (FFF) has launched an online campaign against the proposed cutting down of 6,316 trees on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Hebbal-Nagawara Valley Project

  • TheValley Project was approved in 2016 but was delayed after the government sought a design change to add industrial areas in Doddaballapura and Gauribidanur to the network.
  • In February 2020, Bagaluru lake became the first to be renewed by receiving treated water from the project. 
  • Direct use of treated water for drinking and agricultural purposes, was prohibited but farmers were of the view that, project is increasing the water table in their areas.

Aim of the project

  • The project was launched with the aim of filling 65 tanks in Bengaluru Urban, Rural and Chickballapur. 
  • The mission was once intended to act as an impounded reservoir to furnish water in 11 different lakes in this region. 

Issue with the Cutting of Trees

  • Citizens and Environmentalists are questioning the need of cutting down such big quantity of trees in Singanayakanahalli to construct a lake under Hebbal-Nagawara Valley Project with the aid of Minor Irrigation Department in Karnataka.
  • Activists stated that it is home to peacocks belonging to schedule 1 under the Wildlife Protection act (1972), apart from a rich biodiversity consisting of foxes, snakes, birds, insects etc. 
  • Also lake experts are of the opinion that lake rejuvenation can happen without cutting such a huge number of trees. But, time is needed for such plans to be presented.
  • On the contrary, locals who are not expressing objections saying that the water will be a boost for agriculture have been made to believe that felling of trees is important for development.

Impact on Environment by Cutting Mature Trees

Case of Amazon forest

Tropical forests like the Amazon rain forest promote a cycle of evaporation and rainfall.

Loss of the rain forests could result in warmer and drier climates near the tropics, according to NASA, which could destroy ecosystems that many animal and plants depend on.

Conclusion

  • The focus needs to be on finding ways to coexist with nature. Axing some varieties of trees permissible by court is acceptable but there is no need for so many trees to be cut for lake rejuvenation. 
  • Huge green belts in the Bengaluru city have been lost over the last year (2020) due to such development projects and at this rate, there will be adverse effects on the city’s climate.

About Hebbal Lake

  • The lake is located in Bangalore at the mouth of National Highway 7 (NH7), near the junction of Bellary Road and Outer Ring Road.
  • These lakes were created in the year 1537 by Kempe Gowda.

It was formed by damming natural valley systems. It spreads over an area of 75 hectares with plans for extending it up to 143 hectares.

- Rishabh Srivastava 


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