There is heavy digging and destruction of the ecologically-important wetland habitat in Sonnapura, near Bannikuppe, just east of Chikkaballapur town in Karnataka. Two JCBs (diggers) are working in the area.

The exact location can be accessed here. 

Several concerned citizens wrote to the district administration and the forest department immediately. The memo is attached on the right and is downloadable.

It seems the digging is for a park with walking / jogging track, a water body and boating, and a botanical garden. This is a highly inappropriate tourism plan for this location, when the wetland could be preserved and made into a bird sanctuary or reserve instead. The wetlands are an important water sink for the well-being of the region’s ground water. 

The area is easily visible from NH44 as one drives past. This activity was noticed and documented by birdwatchers who have been visiting the area for watching birds.

The entire site is shown in the map below. Water is currently more extensive than shown (to the E and S, with the marshy area with the digger in the photo below being to the N). We believe there is a broader plan for the location, the details of which must be with your office. The area encircled in red has been almost completely cleared of vegetation.

Kindly note that this wetland location is an important habitat for more than 130 species of both resident and migratory birds. The wetland is extensive and has muddy margins suitable for many species, the best seen anywhere in the Bangalore area. Some of the birds spotted are Short-toed Snake Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Pacific Golden Plover, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Small Pratincole. These are present in good numbers along with variety of other waterfowl that migrate during winter.

We urge you to immediately stop the digging and modify the project so that the ecological value of the wetland is not diminished.

See below: Images of the Sonnapura wetlands and the digging in progress.

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