Monday, May 26, 2014

Update on the Arekere Forest meeting and discussions

The Resident – Arekere Forest Officials meeting on 24th May 2014 as previously announced went well. It was well attended by about 50 to 60 residents of the neighborhood.

Residents were invited to voice their opinions on what they wanted the Reserve Forest to be and how they in turn could help the Forest Department (FD).

The suggestions coming forth from the residents were as follows:
  • ·       That the place should be well secured from all sides to prevent encroachments.
o   FD's answer: No encroachments will be allowed.
  • ·         More vigilance for the safety of walkers.
  • ·         That there should be more lights and sitting benches.
o   FD: Yes for more benches.
  • ·         There should be toilets for public.
  • ·         Walking path all around the inner periphery of the Reserve.
  • ·         Should make it a good biodiversity area by growing indigenous plants and trees.
  • ·         Should try to install bird nesting boxes
  Staff of FD made notes of all that was suggested.

  Next Steps
1.       Residents of the area should come together to clean the place of plastic waste.
2.       Perhaps focus group to be formed to address different aspects as:
a.       Water related issues.
b.      Regeneration of Native species of plants, bushes and trees.
c.       General upkeep of the place.
d.      Amenities related matters, etc.
3.       From the Forest Dept side Mr. Hariprasad who is a Forest Dept staff was deputed by the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) to be the coordinator of all future initiatives.

At the end of the discussions the CCF suggested that a group be formed to take this forward, and thus 12 (6 from ladies and 6 from men) person's names have been included in the informal group.

It was also pointed out by the FD official that it is a Forest Reserve and hence it was not realistic to expect all the amenities that are  normally found in a public parks or gardens.

Previous communication on this can be seen here.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Our forest, a stone's throw away

The Forest Department (FD) held an open house meeting at Arekere Reserve Forest yesterday (15th May 2014), to share its concerns and invite suggestions for the healthy existence of this huge urban Reserve in our vicinity.

This initiative has been taken by the individual forest officers who believe in taking inputs from citizens for the betterment of these places. This is a great opportunity to help the FD and in turn help the region to regain some of its past biodiversity glory.

The concerns expressed by the Addl. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF)
* Surrounding residents insensitiveness in disposing garbage inside the Reserve.
* Depletion and even lack of water table – this made the FD abandon its Nursery.

What APCCF expects from the citizens
* Be a part of the decision-making group for rejuvenating the Reserve.
* Give them a hand in areas such as spreading awareness amongst people to keep the place clean and help them do the initial cleaning up.

Expected benefits to the public
* Public will have access to this huge Reserve to enjoy the health benefits.
* Children will have a superb place to discover nature within a stone's throw from where they live.
* As nature lovers we will have a great biodiversity region to observe birds, butterflies and insects, plants and trees and much more.

Facts about this Reserve
* Approximately 40 + 10 hectares.
* Once called Jalari Kaadu – named after the Jalari trees (Shorea Talura).
* Once connected to Bannerghatta National Park.
* Unfortunately the indigenous Jalari and other trees have been mostly replaced with Acacia and Eucalyptus variety of trees.
* The water bodies that were around the forest a few decades back have been drained out and the urban sprawl has taken over.
* Officially called 'Doresanipalya Forest Campus'.
The next informal get together with the officials and public is scheduled for Saturday, 24th May 2014 at 4:45 pm at the Reserve. Mr. Sarvanan who has taken the initiative will be updating us on this and other initiatives. Some entertainment and fun for the family is planned to make it an enjoyable evening.

Please come with children and enjoy  the evening at the Reserve, and also be part of the group to help save this fantastic forest.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Protect Arekere Reserve Forest campaign

Senior officials at the Arekere Reserve Forest (near Ganesh Temple) want to promote awareness of the importance of trees and forests especially among the residents in the area. They want volunteers to work with them so that the effort is sustained even if they are transferred elsewhere. This is indeed a much needed effort to protect the trees not yet felled in our "Garden City." 

According to a recent study conducted by the IISc, green cover in the city has reduced to 0.1 tree per person whereas to maintain a healthy urban environment the ratio should be 1 tree per person. 

PNLIT is a very small team and we do not have the strength to take on this responsibility as well. However, given the vital need to protect not just our lake but also trees in the locality we can consider doing whatever we can with your help. 

Mr. Saravanan, South City resident, has very kindly agreed to coordinate this initiative. Please spare a little time and volunteer to save at least the trees in our area. 

The next meeting with the Forest Dept. officials is on May 15th at 3.30 p.m. If you would like to participate in this Protect Arekere Reserve Forest campaign, please email Mr. Saravanan <>


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wishing water for the lake

Sanjay M, an earnest well wisher of PNLIT sent this in an email, in reply to the post on drip irrigation.

Sanjay M
Tue, May 6, 2014

Today's welcome showers seemed to prove the saying "God helps those who help themselves" :)

Wishing those not-too-long ago good old days of the full lake are soon back and our feathered friends get back their hangout...

"Yo bro... what's up?!" ;)

"Iske feathers mere feathers se safeed, ye kaise??!" ;)

"Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. 
All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. 
Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly."
~ Jonathan Livingstone Seagull (Richard Bach)

Snaps were from a nature walk in the Puttenahalli Lake this Jan...

Monday, May 5, 2014

PNLIT Drip irrigation plan

"April is the cruellest month" ... begins T.S. Eliot's classic poem. Indeed, didn't we feel it? The weather didn't change with the month and the heat continues to be relentless leading to lakes drying, shortage of water, heated roads, dripping sweat and body burning as if set on fire.        

Our added concern was the drying of the many shrubs and trees we've planted around the periphery of the lake and in our little garden. We decided to resolve this problem by implementing a drip irrigation system using a discarded plastic bottle and a stake cut from a coconut frond. We cut the bottom and pierced a tiny hole in the lid and tied it to a Pinwheel Jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricataNandi Battalu in Kannada, Nandiyar in Tamil).

A couple of days of observing the trial encouraged us to replicate it to 45 more plants. Two children from South City, two from Mantri Elegance joined PNLIT volunteer Anjana in collecting plastic bottles discarded during the dry waste collection and prepared them for use. Early on Sunday morning (yesterday) we assembled and set to fixing the bottles to the stakes fixed to the ground near the shrubs by our gardener. 

In a couple of hours we were ready to test our drip irrigation bottles. Some were perfect and dripped water regularly but others leaked out of the holes that were just a little too big! Necessity is indeed the Mother of Invention and we adopted a couple of little strategies to regulate the flow to a steady drop.

An interesting fallout of this endeavour was that some regular walkers at the lake joined our team and also wanted to fix drip irrigation bottles to the shrubs and trees around the lake. We have decided do so. All visitors to the lake are welcome to bring along a bottle of water from home, empty it into our irrigation bottle and watch their favourite tree/shrub grow lush. 

Little drops of water make the ocean. One bottle of water a day will save a tree at Puttenahalli Lake. 


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Problem with poachers

With the sun's heat accelerating the rate of evaporation in the lake, the water level has fallen sharply and there are no more than four or five pools of water left. We have been consoling ourselves with the thought that this is still far, far better than this time last year when we had literally a few buckets of water in the entire lake. Fish had died in scores then and the lake bed was hard and with cracks and crevices. Encouraged by the monsoon filling the lake somewhat, in September we'd released 3000 fingerlings and the birds returned once again. 

The fish has grown in these six months attracting new species of birds such as the Great Egret, Asian Openbill Stork, Painted Stork, Darter, Garganey Ducks among many others. 

Garganeys, Dec 2013
Painted Stork and Grey Heron, April 2014

Deepa Mohan's Youtube video on the Asian Openbill Stork

Unfortunately though, the fish also attracts poachers to the lake. Every time the trespassers come close, the birds flee.

Poachers, 3-May-2014
Fishing, 4-May-2014
With a sack of fish, 4-May-2014

The sheer brutality of these men and boys is appalling to say the least. Armed with sticks, they beat the fish in the shallow water. In the deeper water others use fishing nets or even cloth to catch the fish. When ticked off by our gardeners, they threaten to break the arms and legs of our men. We trustees have taken to chasing the men away and collecting the sticks and nets they leave behind in the hope that they may not return. We are wrong and they do return to fish, day and night. Only a few birds are now left at the lake. 

Trespassers, poachers
Teaching the young to flout the law
The birds return when the men leave

We are guarding the lake and the fish as best as we can while we wait for the monsoon to begin, fill the lake and bring the birds back. We fervently hope the rain will also keep the poachers away.