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19 January, 2009

Government buldozes CEC direction, authorises construction in forest

The Tumkur University authorities have again raised their voice to have the University campus inside the jungles of Devarayanadurga.

There is a direction by the CEC to the Chief Scretary of Karnataka in its hearing on Application Number 585, Wildlife Aware Nature Club, Tumkur VS State of Karnataka, 20th October 2005 (Ref: FOREST CASE UPDATE, Issue 17, October 2005). It has been clearly said that "there be no construction activity or felling of trees till a decision on this case is taken".

Though the CEC decision refers to the entire 300 acres that was originally occupied by the University, only 225 acres has been vacated. The rest 75 acres has been fenced off and has remained in possession of the University authorities. The University wants to clear fell this 75 acres for non-forest purposes. Of late the Vice Chancellor of the University has been
issuing many press statements to this effect. Below is one such statement that appeared in Kannada Prabha, a sister publication of the Indian Express from Bengaluru, on 6 Nov 2008.


Also on 30 November 2008 at 9:30 AM, the University VC claimed on TV9 Kannada Television channel that "he has filed an appeal with CEC". He said there was "a hearing about the same on 28 November and that there is a 'final' hearing regarding this soon" and he "expects the land to be hand over for construction purpose." But this seems far from the truth.

The team of wildlife lawyers who are helping us have a different story. According to them "the matter was listed before CEC on 26.11.2008. The VC of Tumkur university was present during the hearing and requested for the land. CEC has asked the university to approach State government for the land and if they agree, then the VC can ask for reopening of the case."

But despite this, the State Government has gone ahead and directed the Deputy Commissioner of Tumkur district to hand over 75 acres of land for construction of University (please see copies of the letter below).

WANC opposes any non-forest activitiy in the area including construction or felling of trees till a clear directive is given by the H'ble CEC in this case.


Big python run over in Devarayanadurga forest

Dear Friends,

A rock python, big by standards of specimens recorded in Tumkur district, was run over on one of the roads inside Devarayanadurga (DD) state forest on 16 Nov 2008. This magnificent specimen measured 8.74 ft and weighed over 6 kilos. It was a really sad day as DD lost one more precious and endangered animal due to increased vehicular traffic and human movement inside the forest.

This is the reason why we suggest there should be speed breakers on the roads here. Also there should be checkposts inside the forest to prevent unneccessary movement of vehicles from dusk to dawn.

Regards,
Mallikarjun (Mallik)