Expressing concern over the degradation of environment and extinction of forests in the Telangana region, environmentalist and wildlife warden of Andhra Pradesh, Mekala Vishnuvardhan Reddy, called for a strong legislation to protect the interests of the region.

Mr. Vishnuvardhan was in Karimnagar to inspect the forests and wildlife sanctuary. In a chat with The Hindu here on Sunday, he said that “it is very depressive situation that the forest coverage has come down drastically in the region. There is no tree which is more than four meters height in the forests and all the huge trees have been felled. ”

He alleged that everyday about 80 to 100 lorry loads of timber was being smuggled from north Telangana region to Hyderabad and other parts of the State. Stressing on the need for strengthening of the Forest Department, he suggested that the new government which would take over in Telangana State should focus on the protection of the forests and natural habitats.

He favoured launching special plantation drive and also called upon the government to take measures for the protection of neem trees, which has medicinal values and is linked to the Telangana culture and traditions. He suggested opening of more check posts on Rajiv Rahadhari to check smuggling of timber. With regard to the displacement of wild bears in the district due to the ramphant granite quarry operations, he said the mines and geology department should take measures for relocation of the wild bears on its own cost.

He said the district forest officials were examining the feasibility of developing a wildlife sanctuary at Boggulavagu near Koyyur in Karimnagar district.

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