A green light at the end of a polluted tunnel

A green light at the end of a polluted tunnel

Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-08-13 10:24 Bengaluru: The Forest Department and the state government have taken a small step to recover the city's 'famed green cover'. The Hennur Tree Park in HBR Layout - filled with more than 1,800 trees, 6,000 medicinal plants, two ponds, joggers track, and a children’s play area - is all set to welcome residents and tourists.Inaugurated by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on July 15, the Karnataka Forest Department has finished work on the beautiful park that was created from scratch on a 32-acre lake bed. Speaking to Bfirst.in, Dipika Bajpai, DCF, Bengaluru Urban, said, “Administrative approval of Rs5 crore was sanctioned in the year 2014-15. Till now Rs2.35 cr has been spent for the park.”In 1988, the Lakshman Rau Committee had recommended converting dried lake beds into tree parks. As the Hennur tank had almost dried up, the chief minister in his budget speech of 2014-15 announced that the area would be converted into a tree park.The park has more than 1,827 trees from 39 species including jacaranda, sandalwood, rosewood, ficus, mahogany and terminalia. In addition, it has over 6,000 medicinal plants.Plan to involve RWAsUnderstandably proud of the park, Anand P, Corporator of HBR Layout, said, “We have plans to involve the members of all the Residents Welfare Association of the surrounding areas and form another association who can involve in the development activities of the park.”He also appreciated the efforts of Dipika Bajpai and other officials for developing the lake bed into a tree park, thereby saving it from the rapacious real estate lobby.“This project was completed in less than a year and it has all the features that a bio-diversity should have. The park will be named after Basavalingappa, who was a local tree activist,” said Anand.Challenges for the forest departmentWith the park all set to be thrown open to residents, the forest department has challenges ahead as the trees have to be watered and lawn has to be maintained. But an fee for entering the park is being contemplated.“We are yet to decide about the fee.. We have 5 staff members of our own and additional security staff will be employed if some revenue will be generated by charging a nominal fee for entry and use of park,” said Deepika.On the issue of watering trees, Deepika said, “Three artificial ponds have been created which will hold the rain water. Water will also be pumped by way of borewells.  Additional 1 MLD STP plant has been sanctioned for the SWD running across the park which right now carries sewage.”