The proposed eight-lane Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) on a stretch of 65.5 km will come at a huge environmental cost: 33,838 trees will have to be removed. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project states that of the trees identified, 9,304 trees fall under T.G. Halli catchment. The removal of these trees in the catchment is likely to have an impact on the hydrological regime and water quality in the catchment area, read the report.
Around 631 trees are in Jarakabande reserve forest. The project also needs a diversion of 10.117 hectares of forestland. The Bangalore Development Authority has already submitted an online application to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to divert the forestland. The alignment is surrounded by agricultural land, reserve forests followed by a good number of lakes that provide habitat for avifaunal and faunal species. About 107 species of trees were recorded in the entire alignment (65.5 km) with ecological, economic and social importance. The removal of 33,838 trees and clearance of vegetation will cause disturbance in microclimate, habitat loss and disturbance of vegetation and sensitive plant communities, said the report.
The report states that 2,597 trees have been identified for transplantation. However, the success rate is 70%. The proposed alignment is 7.21 km away from the Bannerghatta National Park and 1.49 km from the Puttenahalli lake birds conservation reserve.
Environmentalists pointed out that the project would have a catastrophic impact. Over the years, green space in the city deteriorated to a great extent. I dont know who is lobbying for the project, which will create nothing but a desert by removing our green cover. It will kill more lakes located on the alignment of the road. The younger generation should raise their voice for a better future, said environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy.
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board in a recent notification said that environmental clearance for the project was accorded by the Karnataka State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority in November, 2014. The environmental clearance was challenged in the National Green Tribunal, which directed the BDA to prepare a fresh Environmental Impact Assessment Report. The Supreme Court too upheld the NGTs orders on preparing a fresh EIA.
An official of the BDA said that the pollution control board, Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner, and BDA will conduct a public consultation on the project.