With elections round the corner, officials expect the notification to come only after two-three months
The rich green belt of Kambalakonda Eco-Tourism Park may soon be expanded to 107 hectares from the existing 37.5 hectares, where main activities are restricted to.
The Forest Department has sent a proposal for the expansion and development of the park, segregating it from the Kambalakonda reserve forest area that is spread across 7,139 hectares.
“The proposal has been submitted under Section 18 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Once the final notification comes, we will promote tourism activities in 107 hectares,” P. Ram Mohan Rao, Divisional Forest Officer, told The Hindu.
However, with elections round the corner, the officials are expecting the notification to arrive only after two to three months.
Though the 107 hectares fall under the Community Based Eco-Tourism project, activities like boating and development of cottages are restricted to the 37.5-hectare area. The park has five cottages and five boats for tourists at present.
Located close to the city limits, the reserve forest supports dry deciduous forest, varying from dense to scrub and scattered grasslands with water bodies harbouring rich flora and fauna. The area is home to five panthers, hundreds of deer, sambhars, wild boars, and also supports several species of resident and migratory bird species.
A development plan to enhance other facilities at an estimated cost of Rs. 41 lakh has also been submitted by the forest officials.
As part of the plan, creation of fire-lines to prevent forest fires and building of culverts have been proposed.
A 400-metre fire-line grid has already been developed and works are on for completion of the second fire-line grid of the same length.
While officials say that Kambalakonda has never been affected by forest fires so far , the neighbouring belts of Anantagiri and Chodavaram witnessed man-made forest fires in the recent past, impacting significant portion of the Eastern Ghats.
As part of the plan, a blacktop road in a 4-km area is also being proposed.