About 40 acres of marshy land owned by Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL), which has remained disused at Thokur village near Jokatte, will sport a biodiversity park in about five years.
MRPL recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with Dr. K. Shivaram Karanth Pilikula Nisargadhama to develop the park. MRPL would pay the Nisargadhama Rs. 12 crore in five years towards the development cost. MRPL chief general manager (Refinery) M. Vinayakumar and Nisargadhama executive director Prasanna inked the pact.
U V Aithal, CGM (Health, Safety and Environmental Management), MRPL, said the marshy land is not put to any use while water from the region overflows during the monsoon to the nearby stream. Plants suitable for the region would be grown in the area with the expertise of Nisargadhama authorities.
MRPL spokesperson Jagadish Baliga said experts from Nisargadhama would study the area first before deciding on the nature of the plants to be grown. In five years, the greenbelt coverage of the MRPL would substantially increase with the project. Though it would not be in line with other public parks, the area would be open for the public who are interested to visit biodiversity areas, Baliga said.
The proposed development would be achieved through an ex situ conservation process, wherein plants from different areas of the Western Ghats and coastal Karnataka would introduced in the park. The increased density and species of plants is expected to attract different species of animals, birds, and other species, thus augmenting the biodiversity of the region.
The MRPL expects the area would be developed into a full-fledged biodiversity park in about five years.
Nisargadhama executive director Prasanna said its biodiversity team comprising two Ph.D scholars and seven staff members have already been nurturing endangered plants of the Western Ghats in a greenhouse. The team would choose plants suitable for the marshy land and grow them in the region.