Some years back the area behind HAL Airport was a favorite haunt for our weekly birding outings. This place is rich in bird population and only a small village broke the dark green expanse of scrubs, trees and a swamp. Which is why as we drove up this road on Saturday I was shocked to see the place totally changed. I was driving my cousin sister to an interview at an IT company that has sprung up where the village once stood. Most of the scrub forest in this area has been cut and the green grass burnt to make way for another yet techonopolis. Even the swamp will be covered soon to make it stable to erect another building. This swamp used to be the haunt of so many water birds.
I was devastated and after dropping off my cousin sister at the place took a walk down the road. I spotted an Ashy Prinia. It came quite close to me. I have been very lucky with birds. Last time I went to Ooty Kousik told me to look out for Black and Orange Flycacher. It is a highly endangered species. Apparently he had waited in vain at the Ooty Botanical Garden to spot one with no success. But to my surprise and delight this bird came and sat on the electric fence of the Tamil Nadu Dairy Development Board estate RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Unfortunately I had only my Minolta aim and shoot camera. Then I saw another one taking an evening bath in a bucket near King’s Cliff. Again the Minolta and a really bad shot of this beautiful bird.
Anyways to get back to the area behind HAL airport…..I walked around what was left of this once sylvan paradise and saw several other birds. The whole thing was an outrage against Nature. I realize that development has to take place. But what about the creatures that ensure our survival on earth? Trees are cut down without even bothering to see if there are nests on them. In my part of Kerala, a nest means cutting of the tree is delayed till the nestlings have flown off. It’s simple village logic.
These technopolises are concrete deserts with not a single tree save for a few ugly Palms for landscape. Indigenous trees are essential for birds to build their nest on. But these technopolises are landscaped with alien bushes and dwarf trees. Trees are razed and lawns planted that require huge amount of water to keep it green. Borewells are being sucked dry to supply water to these companies leading to water depletion. Villagers watch helplessly as the tankers come and draw water as no formal permission is needed to draw water from borewells. Garbage being dumped into lakes caused a revolt a few months back with villagers burning the corporation garbage trucks.The amount of plastic that Bangalore generates is mind bogling.
Most of these buildings are built with glass sheets like their western counterparts. These buildings become heat traps (which is beneficial in western countries as it reduces heating bills) due to the fast heating glass, which in turn puts a burden on the AC Plant that in turn works harder to cool the building letting out huge amount of hot air into the atmosphere. No wonder summers in Bangalore are blistering.
I wonder if these companies (including the one that employs me) would be this callous with their Environment back home. India it seems is for exploitation and Indians in their mad scramble for investments are just not worried at the devastation that development have done to Bangalore’s environment.
And the government wants to bring in more and more investment into Bangalore. We don’t have the roads, water, accommodation, garbage clearance or sewage facility for this. And that is why most old Bangaloreans like me heaved a sigh of relief when the SemIndia Inc deal went to Hyderabad.
I read somewhere that we should give God the
IPR for creating this Earth and the cosmos. I fully agree.