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14 June, 2007

Struggle to prevent destruction of Devarayanadurga forest from Devarayanadurga village road expansion (2001)

There are a few roads that pass through the boundaries of Devarayana Durga State Forest. Among these are

1) Tumkur City - Oordigere Road

2) The above road deviates at 8th mile stone and goes to Namadachelume

3) The road from Namadachelume leads to Durgadahalli

4) The road from Namadachelume also branches into one that leads to Devarayana Durga village

5) Just before Devarayana Durga village a road that branches from Oordigere - Koratagere Road and cuts into the forest, meets the road Namadachelume - Devarayana Durga road.

All these roads cause considerable disturbance.

In 2002 there WANC participated in a campaign to stop the destruction of prime yellothroated bulbul habitat due to the expansion of the road leading to Devarayana Durga village.

The following are some details from 2001:

Dear Nature Lovers,

The latest situation on ground is that the work has come to a halt inthe forest area. Noises though, are being made to resume it in the revenue land adjoining the reserve forest's boundary.

Members of WANC visited the site on 2nd June 2002. After oral requests failed to give results, on 6th June, WANC ex-Chairman Ameen Ahmed wrote a letter to the Deputy Conservator of Forests DCF (Tumkur Territorial Division) with a copy of the relevant Survey of India (SOI) Sheet of 1:50,000 scale. Copy of the letter was marked to the Conservator of Forests (CF) (Hassan Territorial Circle).

In response,

1. We got a reply (in Kannada) from the Range Forest Officer (Tumkur Territorial Range) on 12th June 2002 (No:VA AA KA: TUVA: A. Kra.Dooru: G.L:157:2002-03). He has stated that two cases were filed (not one as claimed below) against "driver of the Hitachi machine, its owner and convener of the Dharma Darshi committee (of Devarayana Durga Lakshminarasimha Swamy Temple)" who were responsible for the destruction. Again these were filed on 8th and 9th June 2002.

2. The Conservator of Forests (Hassan), wrote a letter to the DCF (Tumkur) dated 20-06-2002 (No:A3:Sibbandi:Viva 73:2001-02). Drawing the DCF's attention to my letter, he asked the DCF "to inspect the State Forest area that has been felled, the road that has been illegally constructed and to give a report regarding the same in the next correspondence".

3. Again the Hassan CF has written a letter to the Tumkur DCF on 5th August 2002 (No:A3: Sibbandi: Viva- 73: 2001-02). In this letter the CF has acknowledged the DCF's reply regarding this issue and has directed him to send our club the mainpoints of the Action Taken Report and reply to my original letter and to inform his (the CF's) office about this.

Much of the pressure was due to the local media and the letters sent by nature lovers from across the globe in response to our e-campaign. This includes one letter all the way from Cyprus! Facts from WANC's Status Survey report on Devarayana Durga (DD) forests and the Book on Medicinal Plants of Devarayana Durga Forests by Guru Prasad of WANC and Harish Bhat of CES and also the publicity of DD's Tiger sighting in 2002 helped the campaign very much.

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