Eco-sensitive zones shrink to make way for mines, real estate

An investigation into the process of creating such zones finds that state governments rarely miss an opportunity to cut them down, so commercial activities can be allowed near protected areas.

Manjula R.’s home is incongruous amid a landscape of workers’ sheds, massive machinery and blasted out quarries. This part of Thammanayakanahalli, which abuts the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border and is sandwiched between the ever-increasing concrete sprawl of Bengaluru and the dry tropical forests of Bannerghatta National Park, is a hub of activity. Trucks make a beeline for the quarries and migrant workers flit about with purpose.

Manjula, a widow who inherited her father-in-law’s 4.5 acres of land, is the sole local here. She had planted ragi (finger millet), togari (pigeon pea), green peas and avarekalu (broad beans) last year, spending Rs …


Mohit M. Rao

Mohit M. Rao is an independent journalist based in Bengaluru. His bylines have appeared in CNN, The Washington Post, The Third Pole, Article 14, Mongabay-India and FiftyTwo, among others. He previously worked with The Hindu. His interests include the environment, human rights and agrarian policies.