The ministry of environment, forest and climate change said it has issued detailed ‘terms of reference’ or ToR for the upcoming Satellite Town Ring Road or STTR connecting towns around Bangalore.
There has been a lot of controversy over the impact of the 180 km road — which will connect surrounding areas like Krishnagiri, Hosur, Ramanagara, Dobbaspete and Peddamadhagondapalli — on one of the most visited national parks in India.
The initial plans submitted by the state government had envisioned a 7-km stretch right through the park, eating up around 19 hectares of land that is currently frequented by elephants, leopards and other wildlife.
The plan met with a lot of opposition from environment activists and nature lovers when it was submitted for the environment ministry’s approval.
However, some of the finer details of the plan seem to have been changed as it was being scrutinized by the environment ministry.
According to the statement given by Junior Environment Minister Babul Supriyo in parliament today, “an extent of 3.796 km covering 11.0 ha of National Park will be utilized” for the STTR.
It was not clear whether this was the total usage by the project within the park boundaries, or whether this is in addition to any existing roads that will be absorbed within the project.
Supriyo did not clarify whether the road would be elevated within the park, and if so, how much of it would be elevated.
A ground-level road would impede the movement of elephants and other animals within the park as they roam around in search of water and food.
Bannerghatta National Park, near Bangalore, Karnataka, was founded in 1970 and declared as a national park in 1974.
A biological reserve, the Bannerghatta Biological Park, was set up in 2002 with a zoo, a pet corner, an animal rescue centre, a butterfly enclosure, an aquarium, a snake house and a safari park.
There are ancient temples in the park for worship and it is a destination for trekking and hiking. It is also one of the most visited nature parks in India due to its close proximity to Bangalore, and offers a guided bus tour all along the 6 km safari roads within the park zone.