Mining at Bannerghatta Biological Park: Is it a forest dept cover-up?

BENGALURU: The Forest Department, which till a few days ago, was claiming that stone quarrying near Bannerghatta Biological Park was outside the ambit of its eco-sensitive zone, has now landed in a fresh controversy after its letters to the Mines and Geology Department came to light.

The letters, written in 2015 and later in 2017, reveal that it had asked the Mines and Geology Department to close mining activities within the 10 km area from the boundary of the park.

The activists are demanding answers from the Mines and Geology department which despite getting the letters from the Forest Department to stop mining activities in the eco-sensitive zone had ignored it.

The letter, dated June 6, 2015, by the Deputy Conservator of Forest stated that no permission should be given for mining at Ragihalli (Survey No. 71) and Shivanahalli (Survey No. 69). 

However, the lead scientist at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Dr T.V. Ramachandra, said, “At Ragihalli, over 100 trucks related to mining can be seen department knows about this and we have submitted our report regarding the impact of mining on the National Park. But no action has been taken."

Tree doctor Vijay Nishanth is happy that his claims regarding illegal mining stand vindicated. "It is clear that the mines and geology department has given the permission to carry out mining in the eco-sensitive zone. This has to stop," he added. Forest officials, however, claim that the land on which mining is happening falls under the revenue department and there is little they can do. They maintain that mining is outside the ambit of safe zone.

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