Missing Land in Mrugavani National Park: A Mystery Unveiled


Eighty hectares of land have mysteriously vanished from Mrugavani National Park, a protected area owned by the forest department and one of the three national parks in the city. This startling revelation surfaced during a recent hearing at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) concerning the unauthorized erection of power supply line towers within the park, also known as Chilkur Deer Park.

During the hearing, the forest department made a surprising admission: the official gazetted area of Mrugavani Park, listed as 360 hectares, is now only 287 hectares. This discrepancy amounts to a net loss of 20%, later revised to 22.5%, of the park’s land. Forest officials attributed the reduction to “adoption of different techniques for surveying, mapping, and area estimating.”

However, green experts are not convinced. They argue that nearly one-fourth shrinkage in a national park cannot be explained by mere changes in surveying techniques. “The loss of 20% of land is unheard of. It requires an independent inquiry. The National Board on Wildlife should deliberate and decide on the reasons behind the shrinkage of land, specifically as per section 35(5) of the National Wildlife Act,” an expert emphasized.

In a significant recent order, the NGT’s Chennai bench imposed a penalty of ₹50 lakh on TS Transco for deviating from the gazette-approved plan by installing high-tension quad towers instead of the approved monopoles through Mrugavani National Park in Chilkur. The NGT stated that the penalty amount should be used for the improvement of Mrugavani Park and enhancing the tree cover in the Chilkur reserved forest area. However, it refused to order the replacement of the unapproved quad towers, as this would disrupt power supply. The transmission lines run along the Outer Ring Road, with quad poles occupying more space than monopoles.

The question remains: what truly happened to the missing 80 hectares of land in Mrugavani National Park? Is it a case of administrative oversight, or is there something more significant at play? This mystery calls for an independent investigation to uncover the truth behind the park’s shrinking boundaries and ensure the protection of our precious green spaces.


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