Several representations were submitted to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy when he camped in the Krishna District demanding that the land be de-notified and distributed

Officials of the Wildlife Division of the A.P. Forest Department are preparing a very strong argument against the distribution of 7,600 acres that overlaps with an ‘important birding area’ near Kaikaluru in Krishna district.

The strongest point in favour of the sanctuary is that two subjects — forests and protection of animals and birds had been transposed to the Concurrent List in 42 Amendment of the Indian Constitution in 1972.

The land in dispute cannot therefore be de-notified by the State government alone.

The Forest Department Officials are also considering invoking Article 51-A (g) of the Constitution which imposes as a fundamental duty to protect and improve wildlife in the country on every Indian citizen to prevent people from trying to push the matter further.

Only two acres out of the 260 acres that constitute the ‘important birding area’ of Atapaka in Kaikaluru town will be available to the Forest Department if the 7,600 acres are de-notified and distributed.

The land is not in the possession of farmers, but some vested interests are bringing pressure on elected representatives and government officials to exempt 7,600 acres from the Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) and distribute the same to landless poor living there.

Several representations were submitted to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy when he camped in the Krishna District for three days last week demanding that the land be de-notified and distributed.

K. Mrutyumjaya Rao, environmental activist who has been fighting for the preservation of wetlands all over the State, in a letter to the Forest Minister said “If the 7,600 acres which was within the + 5 contour was not saved, the tough decisions taken by the State government, the demolition of the illegal fish tanks and the conservation efforts made by the Central Empowered Committee as per the directions of the Supreme Court will be futile.”

Yet another environmental activist, A. Satyanarayana, in a letter to the Chief Minister said there was a need to increase the size of KWS to +10 contour as per the records of the Ramsar Convention.

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