Killing a Grassland, Hesaraghatta, Bangalore

Ramki Sreenivasan

There is an urgent conservation issue related to the Hesaraghatta grasslands in NW Bangalore. Of all places in Bangalore, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) selects possibly the last remaining grassland to go on a tree-planting overdrive. Using bulldozers, close to 30,000 pits have been dug and most of them planted. The media coverage was helpful and possibly aided in putting a halt to the digging but almost 200 acres of prime grassland is dug and gone — unless the saplings are uprooted and the pits refilled. I visited the site on 27th August and the sight is disastrous.

The BDA and the Forest Dept. did not respond to any of our complaints. Forest Dept. is categorical that birds needs trees (“not even a sparrow exists currently”). A quick look at the attached images will indicate that prime habitat for all the wintering raptors — harriers, tawny eagles, short-eared owls, etc. — is irreversibly gone.

A petition is being filed in the Bangalore courts.

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