K’taka govt urged to declare Roerich Estate biodiversity zone
Bengaluru: The Karnataka Biodiversity Board (KBB) has urged the state government to declare sprawling 467.53 acre Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate situated in southern part of Bengaluru as a “Biodiversity Heritage Site” under the Biodiversity Act 2002.
The KBB also asked the government to discourage commercial tourism inside the estate as the estate is home to unique flora and fauna besides being an elephant corridor.
This recommendation assumes significance in the backdrop of the Karnataka Chief Minister, B. S. Yediyurappa announcement that he intends to convert this estate into a sprawling film studio.
Yediyurappa on September 19 proposed that a film city be built at the Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate at Tataguni, a lung space spread over hundreds of acres off Kanakapura Road.
He even described it as an “innovative idea” in his speech during the Founder’s Day celebration organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).
“We saw elephants during our visit last week,” KBB chairman, Ananth Hegde Ashisara noted in his report and added that the estate is also home to wild dogs, jackals, and dears. Botanists have identified close to 150 unique species of trees and the forest department has set up a tree park.
In his report he added that the estate is unique as it is a natural landscape and has a tree park.
“It is rich in biodiversity and needs to be protected. I had visited the estate with other Board members a few days ago. It is also part of the elephant corridor. The government should work on clearing garbage and plastic piles en route to the estate, on Kanakapura Road. Karnataka Biodiversity Board members should be made a part of the Roerich Estate Board,” Ashisara said.
The estate, spread across 467.53 acres, has 128 varieties of plants, including 400 Indian Lavender plants. All the plants have been recorded and recognised by the Biodiversity Board. In 2009 and 2016 too, the KBB had tried to get the area declared a biodiversity hotspot, but the government did not take it forward.