Mangaluru, Nov 18, 2014: Pollution of all types is taking over most areas of Mangaluru, the situation in many towns is worse too. The city’s open spaces are taking blow after blow.
Now the Dakshina Kannada district administration planning to have a huge administration complex in the land belonging to Karnataka State Forest Industries Corporation (KSFIC) at Alape in Padil on the outskirts of the city. Constructed at a cost of Rs 25 crore it is likely to come up on 5.9 acres of land belonging to Karnataka State Forest Industries Corporation. This precious lung space has 480 trees of them 70 are teak trees.
Nature lovers are furious. One said that not only the city will lose its lung space, but also many wild animals will lose their habitat including the flying squirrel, Asian Palm Civet known as toddy cat (beru in local language), pythons, peacocks, fox, mongoose and 15 to 20 species of birds. Also there are hundreds of bats, according to department officials
The one point that is holding up the district administration from taking over the space is rules of the Karnataka Forest Act which makes it a deemed forest. The Supreme Court stipulates any land that has 50 naturally grown trees per hectare, over and above the height of 30 cm are considered as deemed forest. If the land has 100 trees planted per hectare, above the height of 30 cm, it will again be considered as deemed forest. So going by this definition the 2.38 Ha KSFIC land has more than 100 trees stipulated as per the Act and is a deemed forest. Sources in Forest Department say that in this case, the state will have to seek permission from the Central authority for granting the land.
DK DC A B Ibrahim, it is said has requested forest chief secretary seeking no objection certificate to construct on the land. The letter states that though there is available 4.5 acres of land at Bangra Kulur, it is not suitable for the complex. The DC also observes that district in charge minister, B Ramanath Rai, who is also the minister for forests, ecology and environment, has given directions to transfer the Bangra Kulur land to KSFIC.
This is an unfortunate matter set to deprive and rob the much needed and only green area in the city presently. The only solution perhaps is for public to approach the court citing the deemed Forest clause. Who is prepared to bell the cat? the land value is expected to appreciate and this will happen if this area is developed.
DK DC A B Ibrahim said he was not aware the land being a deemed forest. "Moreover we are only developing 30% of the area and will retain as many trees as possible,’’ it seems he has said.
The historic old city around the present DC complex near the old port area which is already crumbling and neglected for unknown reasons is set to sink into history. The rail lines around this area and Pandeshwar are obsolete and can be scrapped to give a better profile to the city and the existing DC office can be expanded and modernised. A planned ’Cornish’ or ’Mangala ring road’ along the river banks can enhance and retain the historic ancient atmosphere with great advantage.