Friday, February 8, 2008

Ring road project poses threat to Bangalore’s vital water source The Hindu : Front Page

The Hindu : Front Page : Ring road project poses threat to Bangalore’s vital water source: "With the land within the ecologically sensitive Thippagondanahalli reservoir catchment area set to be acquired for the first phase of Peripheral Ring Road, the threat of irreparable damage to a vital water source for Bangalore city looms large.

The final notification issued by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for acquisition of land for the road project lists 30 survey numbers that were declared out of bounds for any activity except agriculture in 2003.

Ten survey numbers in Madanayakanahalli, 12 in Hanumanthasagara and eight in Kudaragere, all in Dasanapura hobli, fall under Zone 3 of the Thippagondanahalli catchment area as they are located within one km from the banks of the Arkavathy.

In the land bearing these survey numbers, “no person shall carry on activities other than agriculture or agriculture-related activities without prior permission”, states an order issued in 2003 by the Departments of Forest and Ecology and Environment. The order was issued after a study conducted by ISRO stated that “unplanned development in the catchment area had led to deterioration of water quality and reduced inflow into the reservoir”.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, which supplies water from the reservoir to western parts of Bangalore, is not aware of the acquisition. Its Chairperson Latha Krishna Rau told The Hindu that the board would have to examine the alignment and the survey numbers being acquired to assess the impact on the reservoir. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), which monitors the catchment area, is yet to take cognisance of the matter. “We did ask earlier for an environment impact assessment report, but the BDA replied that they need not report to us as the ring road was not a national highway,” H.C. Sharatchandra, Chairman of the KSPCB, said. The BDA, which is due to announce its compensation package for land acquisition, said it did not need to take any clearance as it was not implementing the project. “We are simply acquiring land. The NHAI will have to seek clearance as it is constructing the road,” BDA Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda said."

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