January 25, 2022 2:21:46 pm
State Forest Minister Umesh Katti agreed to submit a proposal at the next wildlife board meeting to declare the more than 5,000 acre of the Hesaraghatta open land as a conservation reserve.
During a webinar on the need to conserve grasslands, catchments and waterways, the minister agreed to a request made by the member of the state wildlife board, Siddharth Goenka, to bring the issue back to the wildlife board so that it could be debated and discussed.
“We are happy about this development and hope that the proposal will be accepted this time. The minister has agreed to bring the issue up at the next wildlife board meeting. The safeguarding of the Hesaraghatta grasslands is imperative for the ecosystem,” Goenka told The Indian Express.
In January 2021, former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had rejected the proposal to declare the area as a conservation reserve after Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath opposed the idea.
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Experts point out that grasslands are the feeding grounds not only for large plant eaters but also for meat eaters, insects, birds, rodents, snakes and many more.
Naturalists have over the years pointed out that the grasslands have become breeding grounds for rare birds like the greater spotted eagle and lesser florican (only a few hundreds left). Apart from this, it is also home to the slender loris, smooth coated otter and the Indian leopard.
The Karnataka High Court had last year directed the state government to ensure that the present status of the grasslands is not be altered in any manner.
Conservationist Vijay Nishanth stated, “It is a great development that the minister has said this. We hope that the proposal to declare the grasslands as a conservation reserve is accepted this time. This has been our long-standing demand.”
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