The Andhra Pradesh State Wildlife Board (APSW) is seeking the Centre’s nod for sanction of 383 acres of forest land for the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) proposed Missile Test Launch Facility in Nagayalanka mandal of Krishna district.

The total land recommended for the Rs. 1,000 crore project, includes a stretch of 60 acres within the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS). The remaining portion of the 383 acres comprises reserved forest and mangrove forest. “The APSW, in principle, has recommended to the Union government for alienation of the 383 acres, covering forest and Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary area. But the government is yet to take a final decision”, Chief Wildlife Warden and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) A.V. Joseph told The Hindu.

Mr. Joseph says the decision was taken a few days before former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy stepped down. In February 2013, the then Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, had informed the Rajya Sabha that the government had requested the A.P. government to “spare unassigned revenue and reserve forest land at Nagayalanka” for setting up the project. Based on the DRDO’s land suitability report in and around Sorlagondi Reserve Forest and surrounding areas in Nagayalanka, a team led by Mr. Joseph inspected the proposed site and found that a part of the land comprised forest area and the KWS.

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