What is the news: The High Court of Karnataka directed the State government to ensure that the present status of Hesarghatta Grasslands in Bengaluru is not altered in any manner until further orders.
Details : The petitioner had questioned the legality of the decision taken by the Karnataka State Board for Wildlife (KSBWL) in its 15th meeting on January 19, 2021 to reject the proposal to declare Hesarghatta Grasslands comprising of 5,010 acres as ‘Greater Hesarghatta Grasslands Conserve Reserve’.
ABOUT HESARGHATTA GRASSLANDS
- Located about 30 km to the north-west of Bengaluru, the Hesaraghatta lakebed spans an area of about 1912 acres (744 ha) and is essentially dry for most part of the year. It is fully dependent on rainfall for its water. The 356 acres of landscape surrounding the lakebed is the last remaining grassland habitat in the Bengaluru region.
- The grassland surrounding the lakebed supports unique biodiversity. Around 235 species of birds, some of them listed as endangered or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, glide across the sky. Around 400 species of insects, of which nearly 30 have been described as new to science by entomologists, and 100 species of butterflies including the rare lilac silverline (Cigaritis lilacinus), have chosen this land as their breeding spot.
- Hesaraghatta tank is one of the two major water reservoirs of the Arkavathy river. Originating in the Nandi Hills, the river Arkavathy was once an important source of water for Bengaluru before the city switched to river Cauvery for all its water needs. Arkavathy river feeds a series of cascading tanks including Hesaraghatta.
- Hesaraghatta tank was mostly neglected until the Yettinahole river diversion project caught the fancy of the Karnataka government. The project proposes to divert 24 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water from streams like Yettinahole, Kadumanehole, Kerihole and Hongadahalla, originating in the upper reaches of Western Ghats in Karnataka, to drought-prone areas of the state like Kolar and rural Bengaluru. As part of the project, lakes like Hesaraghatta would be augmented to provide water to rural Bengaluru.