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23 September, 2007

Who is behind the "Ghost" road to Chinga Temple inside Devarayanadurga State Forest?

Dear nature lovers,

Mallikarjun filed two more RTI applications to find out who exactly is involved in the construction of the road to Chinga Rangaswamy Temple from Swandenahalli village. The RTI application is included below.

As Mallik has mentioned, the said road as it is today, never existed in the original notification of DD nor did it exist in the Survey Map of 1972. It neither existed in today's condition when UV Singh was the DFO nor did it when Guru and myself visited it during the time of MN Narayanaswamy in 2000-2001.

Did it appear over night out of nowhere? Who is behind it? Who are the authorities who should be punished for this? These are the questions to which we would like to have the answers. That is the reason behind all these applications and complaints.

Thanks,
Ameen

----------------------------------------------------

To
Pubic Information Officer
Office of CEO
Zilla Panchayat
Tumkur

Form A
(u/s. 6(1) and 7(1) of Right to Information Act – 2005)

1. Applicant's Name: Mallikarjun M

2. Applicant's address:

3. Details of document/s requested: Request to provide information regarding the below as I am an affected party, under section 4 (1) (d) of RTI (2005).

1) Has the Zilla Panchayat sanctioned any funds to build or repair or for any development work around Chinnaga Rangaswamy Temple (located near Chinnaga Betta, Swandenahalli Village) in Tumkur Taluk since 1997 till date?

2a) If answer to above question no: 1 is Yes, then in which year or years, were the funds sanctioned?
2b) For what purpose/work were the funds sanctioned?
2c) What is the total amount of funds (in Rupees) sanctioned for the purpose in the above question 2b?
2d) Who was the authority that authorized the work, either Gram Panchayat or Mandal Panchayat or others?

3) Has the Zilla Panchayat sanctioned any funds for building or repair work of the road, path, culverts, bridges or drainages from Swandenahalli Village leading to Chinnaga Rangaswamy Temple inside Devarayanadurga forest in Tumkur Taluk since 1997 till date?

4a) If answer to above question no: 3 is Yes, in which year (or years), were the works sanctioned?
4b) What is the length of the road/path for which the funds were sanctioned?
4c) What is the total amount of funds (in Rupees) sanctioned for the purpose in the above question 4b?
4d) Who was the authority that authorized the work, either Gram Panchayat or Mandal Panchayat or others?

5) Is the Zilla Panchayat planning to sanction any work/fund to build or repair or any development work around Chinnaga Rangaswamy Temple (located near Chinnaga Betta, Swandenahalli Village), in Tumkur Taluk as of 2007-2008?

6) Is the Zilla Panchayat planning to sanction any work/fund for building or repair of the road, path, culverts, bridges or drainages from Swandenahalli Village leading to Chinnaga Rangaswamy Temple inside Devarayanadurga forest in Tumkur Taluk as of 2007-2008?

4. Year to which the document/s pertain: As mentioned above

5. Details of amount paid: Paid by Indian Postal Order:

Date:

Place:
Signature of the applicant

------------------

For other posts on this please see:
> Devarayanadurga's Chinga area...the looting continues

> Road from Swandenahalli to Durgadahalli destroys prime area of Devarayana Durga State Forest

> RTI applications filed for info on forests of Tumkur Dist.


> 'Roadworks in reserve forest rile greens' (The Hindu, June 29, 2007)

Trees felled inside Devarayanadurga Reserve Forest for new power line

As you all know, recently there have been many trees that have been felled inside Devarayanadurga Reserve Forest along the Belaguba-Oordigere Road to lay a new power line to Navodaya School.

As we understand, the agency that lays a power line inside a reserve forest should meet the conditions under various forest and environmental Acts of our country.

Mallikarjun has already filed an RTI application with the Forest Department, Tumkur to find out if the forest department has imposed any such conditions on the agency that is laying the power line. To make sure that we get the correct information, I filed a similar application with the BESCOM (previously KEB) on 22 Sep '07 (Please see the RTI application at the end of thi email)

I over heard one of the official there saying Navodaya School is laying down the power line on its own and BESCOM has nothing to do with the actual laying of power line or tree felling. If this is true, then the forest department is wrong in giving permission to any body to cut trees for their own developmental project, without prior clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India (under Forest Conservation Act, 1980).

I am waiting to get the official response to find out the truth.

Thanks,
Ameen

A view of the Belaguma Village - Oorigere Village road that passes through Devarayanadurga State Forest, besides which the trees have been felled.


An electric pole that has been errected in place of the felled trees.


A mature Tamarind tree that was felled.








A butterfly that was photographed near the felled trees.The trees and its surroundings hold rich biodiversity.





Bare stumps are all that remain...


Even small trees were not spared the axe...


The sad view again...

---The RTI application---

To
Pubic Information Officer
Office of Divisional Engineer
BESCOM Tumkauru Division
Tumakuru Town

Form A
(u/s. 6(1) and 7(1) of Right to Information Act – 2005)

Details of document/s requested Request to provide following information

1a) Whether any clearance conditions were imposed on BESCOM by
Karnataka Forest Department to lay the new power transmission line
through Devarayanadurga State Forest besides the Belagumba-Oordigere
Road leading to Navodaya School near Janapanahalli, in Tumkauru Taluk?
1b) If yes, kindly provide the details of the conditions imposed.1c)
Have the same conditions been met?

2a) How many numbers of trees will be cut for the above mentioned
power transmission line?
2b) Whether any clearance conditions have been imposed on BESCOM by
the Karnataka Forest Department, under any Forest and Environmental
Act to cut the above trees?
2c) Have the same conditions been met by BESCOM?

4. Year to which the document/s pertain Till date or as mentioned above
5. Details of amount paid Indian Postal Order:


Date: 22nd September 2007

Place: Tumakuru
Signature of the applicant

Devarayanadurga's Chinga area...the looting continues

First, the Forest Department allowed the illegal construction of a road inside, probably, Devarayanadurga's most densly forested area...


The tree looters followed soon. They cut the trees with impunity...


Then they tie the logs to the their bicycles...




They then ride away as freely as they entered the forest. All this while the forest officials sleep away on this problem...


Hi,

I had again been to Chinagara betta on 9th Sep'07 with Gundappa mestru. We were lucky enough to spot the Frogs heaven, Mestru could identify 3 species of frogs by their calls, Painted frog, Marballed frog, Indian Bull frog. I cud enjoy the sight thro my binacs.

Later we took Chinagara betta road and drove.... Once again we saw a beautiful Ground Orchid. We reached the check dam, which was full.

We saw four tree cutters doing their destructional work without any fear. I am attaching some of the photos by which one can judge the amount of forest wealth flowing outside without any obstruction or I may say with full support of KFD.

Once we started ascending the betta we were surprised to see that the road to Chinagara betta is complete, added to this there were cars and vans just infront of the temple. As per the Topo sheet there's no road, not even a foot path to Ranga swamy temple, but today a road which is better than any road in Tumkur city is laid. There's no surprise if KFD or KSTDC plans for a lodge near the temple......

Mallik

Previous posts and stories on this problem:
Road from Swandenahalli to Durgadahalli destroys prime area of Devarayana Durga State Forest

'Roadworks in reserve forest rile greens' (The Hindu, June 29, 2007)

12 September, 2007

RTI applications filed for info on forests of Tumkur Dist.

Dear Nature lovers,

Nature lovers Mallik (Mallikarjun) and Ameen (Ameen Ahmed) have filed 2 applications each under the Right to Information Act (2005), seeking information on forests of Tumkur. Many of these questions refer to Devarayanadurga State Forest, in tune with our latest efforts to save it from total destruction.

We are awaiting the answers to these questions.

I. 25th August 2007: Application no: 1 filed by Ameen

Request to provide following information with reference to Devarayanadurga, Panditanahalli and Ramadevara Betta state forests in Tumkur Territorial Range
1) How many tree-felling cases have been booked since 1997 till date in th above forests?
2) How many of these cases have been proved in the court?
3) How many forest offence cases including illegal quarrying, illegal sand lifting and encroachment cases have been booked since 1997 till date in the above forests?
4) How many of these cases have been proved in the court?
5) How many dead trees have been removed since 1997 in the above forests?
6) How many Eucalyptus trees have been removed since 1997 in the above forests?
7) How many trees have been felled for road widening since 1997 in the above forests?
8) Does the forest department have records of the area of forest cover under Revenue Department adjoining the boundaries of these forests? If yes, how many hectares of forest is controlled by the revenue department?

II. 25th August 2007: Application no: 2 filed by Ameen

Request to provide following information with reference to state and reserve forests of Tumkur Division
1) How many forest offence cases including illegal quarrying, illegal sand lifting and encroachment cases have been booked since 1997 from the state and reserve forests of Tumkur Territorial Division?
2) How many of these cases have been proved in the court?
3) How many dead trees have been removed since 1997 from the state and reserve forests of Tumkur Territorial Division?
4) How many Eucalyptus trees have been removed since 1997 from the state and reserve forests of Tumkur Territorial Division?
5) How many trees have been felled for road widening since 1997 from the state and reserve forests of Tumkur Territorial Division?
6) How much money has been spent on roadside tree planting since 1997 inside the state and reserve forests in Tumkur Territorial Division?
7) Does the Tumkur Territorial Division maintain satellite images of the division’s forest cover? If yes, what is the period of updating these records?


III. 10th September 2007: Application no: 1 filed by Mallik

1a) Whether any action has been taken regarding my complaint letter to you dated June 12, 2007 with the subject “Tree felling, blasting of rocks and forest destruction to build road inside Devarayana Durga state forest”.
1b) If action is taken, kindly provide me with a copy of the Action Taken Report.
1c) If action not taken, kindly provide the reasons for the delay in taking action, as I am an affected party under section 4 (1) (d) of RTI (2005).

2a) Whether any action has been taken regarding complaint letter to you dated 2 July, 2007 with subject “Complaint against illegal expansion of Giregowdanahalli – Maidenahalli / Hosahalli 'kachcha' road / cart track inside Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve, Madhugiri Taluk, Tumkur District”
2b) If action is taken, kindly provide me with a copy of the Action Taken Report.
2c) If action not taken, kindly provide the reasons for the delay in taking action, as I am an affected party under section 4 (1) (d) of RTI (2005).

3a) Whether any action has been taken with reference to the two cases filed by forest department on 8th and 9th June 2002 against the road widening inside Devarayanadurga state forest near Devarayanadurga village without permission from the Forest department? Please refer letter dated 12 June 2002, No:VA AA KA: TUVA: A. Kra.Dooru: G.L:157:2002-03 by Range Forest Officer (Tumkur Territorial Range) to Ameen Ahmed, Wildlife Aware Nature Club, Tumkur.
3b) If action taken, kindly provide me with a copy of the Action Taken Report.
3c) If action not taken, kindly provide the reasons for the delay in taking action, as I am an affected party under section 4 (1) (d) of RTI (2005).

IV. 10th September 2007: Application no: 2 filed by Mallik

1a) Whether clearance conditions imposed by MoEF for forest and environmental clearances including those under Forest Conservation Act (1980) have been complied with by agency that is the laying the new powerline through Devarayanadurga State Forest besides the Oordigere Road leading to Navodaya School near Janapanahalli?
1b) If yes, kindly provide the details of action taken for compliance
1c) The number of trees that are going to be felled for this project along with their details like the tree species, age of the tree, physical condition of the tree etc.

2a) Whether clearance conditions imposed by MoEF for forest and environmental clearances including those under Forest Conservation Act (1980) have been complied with by the agency that is the widening the road from Oordigere Road 8th km stone leading to Namadachelume inside Devarayanadurga state forest?
2b) If yes, kindly provide the details of action taken for compliance.
2c) The number of trees that are going to be felled for this project along with their details like the tree species, age of the tree, physical condition of the tree etc.

3a) Does the forest department maintain records of the commercial non-passenger vehicles using / passing through the roads inside Devarayanadurga State Forest?
3b) If yes, how many commercial non-passenger vehicles have passed through Devarayanadurga State Forest in the year 2006?

04 September, 2007

'Hunt' on for the elusive Devarayanadurga tiger' (Posted Sep 2007)

Dear Readers,

The following story appeared in the Tumkur Print of The New Indian Express on August 28, 2007. The story is written by Indian Express' Tumkur based corresondent Devaraj B Hirehalli.

Regards,
Ameen

SOURCE: The New Indian Express (Tumkur print), 28 August 2007

---Quote---
'Hunt' on for the elusive Devarayanadurga tiger
By Devaraj B Hirehalli

Tumkur, Aug 27: Wildlife enthusiasts here in Tumkur have been on the 'hunt' for a tiger in Devarayanadurga Reserve Forests since 2000.

No instances of this tiger giving trouble to the people of surrounding villages or to their cattle has been reported so far.

Yet in Sept 2001, the death of a fully grown cow was suspected to be a tiger kill. But this is yet to be confirmed.

Naturally, the dry deciuous Devarayanadurga Hills reserve forest which spreads across 42.47 sq km, also has patches of scrub and a few degraded moist deciduous forests in its valleys. It is evidently a habitat for different species of animals.

In the mid-50s, wildlife activist Kenneth Anderson in his book 'Nine Man-Eaters and One Rouge' claims to have killed a man eating tiger, which he called 'The Hermit of Devarayandurga', in Devarayanadurga Hills forest quotes Ameen Ahmed, an expert from Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC) of Tumkur.

In 1996, then Deputy Conservator of Forests Dr Uday Veer Singh, too reportedly sighted a well-grown tiger in Devarayanadurga.

But since 2000, WANC activists and a few people from the villages and surrounding areas claims to have seen pug marks and heard growls of the big cat.

Forest guards Bore Gowda and Chikanna at Devarayanadurga Hills also said they had sighted the tiger resting on a rock often.

But Sanjay Gubbi, another expert in wildlife study, opines that there was no chance of the existence of a tiger in Devarayanadurga hills reserve forests given its ecology, which doesn't suit the tiger.

For a single tiger survive, it needs a density of 500 prey animals atleast and 15 sq km of dense forests for its survival. But the Devarayanadurga hills forest is a habitat for leopards which could survive on even small animals , he said. If at all the migration was to be considered, there was no forest corridor connecting
Devarayanadurga hills which is 180 km away from its nearst tiger habitat which is at Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chickmagalur district, explained. The pug marks of a leopard during rainy season may be mistaken for tiger's, he said. But the spirit of WANC to search for their 'loving' tiger will never dampen as they have found pug marks as
recently as July 2007. But this needs research by experts.

---Unquote---