Even as the Centre awaits a report from it on the proposed YSR memorial, the Andhra Pradesh government has gone ahead with the project seeking invitation from consultants for its execution in a protected sanctuary housing endangered tigers in Nallamala forests.
The state government two days ago called for expressions of interest from reputed national and international landscape consultants and architects for developing a concept plan for “Smruthi Vanam” or memorial in Vegodu reserve forest in Srisailam, which is a part of Nagarjunasagar tiger reserve.
Amidst opposition from environmentalists who claim that the project spread over 1,140 sq km would cause destruction to valuable wildlife in the region, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had asked the Andhra Pradesh government to submit the details of proposed memorial.
The “Smruthi Vanam” is planned to set up at Pavuralagutta in Nallamala forest where former state Chief Minister Y S R Reddy was killed in a helicopter crash along with four others.
A memorial stupa, a trekking path to the accident site, breeding centres, nature interpretation centre besides a peacock park is proposed at the Rs 3.5 crore YSR Memorial Park, to be ready by next September.
The report was sought after non-official members of the National Board for Wildlife such as Brijendra Singh, Valmik Thapar and Asad Rahmani wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that the construction of “Smruti Vanam” was in violation of the Wild Life and Forest Act as the habitat has flora and fauna of bio-economical value.
“The 1,140 sq km Gundla Brameswaram Sanctuary is contiguous to the Nagarajunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve and is part of the largest block of Eastern Ghats forest in the country, which is extremely rich in biodiversity,” the experts pointed out.
However, rejecting the allegations, the state officials have contended that “Smruthi Vanam” will not only contribute to the conservation of the area but also convey the conservation message to the public through interpretaive signages and guiding system.
The officials said that the construction of memorial will be without sacrificing the tree growth and other natural resources and with proper planning. “This will help developing the area around as an ecologically well-established complex with conservation values,” an official said.