Special Chief Secretary (Forest) will be the convener

The government on Wednesday constituted a Group of Ministers to examine the issues related to Kolleru lake and the long-pending demand of the displaced farmers and fishermen seeking compensation for the loss of livelihood after the notified Kolleru wildlife sanctuary was extended from +3 contour to +5 contour level by the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment.

A Government Order (GO) issued on Wednesday stated that the GoM would comprise Forest Minister Shatrucharla Vijayaraja Raju, Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy, Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana, Irrigation Minister P. Sudharshan Reddy, Secondary Education Minister K. Parthasarathi, and Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister P. Vishwarup. The Special Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment, would be the convener of the GoM.

The decision to constitute the GoM came close on the heels of the ultimatum given by the MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao who had extended support to the agitating farmers and fishermen who had been demanding the reduction of notified Kolleru lake area from contour +5 to contour +3. In the notified sanctuary area of the lake, construction of any structures or farming using chemical fertilisers has been banned. As close to 14,000 acres of private land was claimed to be located between contour 3 and contour 5.

The ruling Congress party had adopted a resolution in the Assembly requesting the Centre to restrict the notified area in the Kolleru lake to +3 contour level or extend a compensation package to the displaced farmers and fishermen.

However, the P.A. Aziz Committee appointed by the Centre to study the issue had recommended that the reduction of the size of Kolleru lake from contour +5 to couture +3 is “not viable” for environmental reasons.

  • GoM to address the long-pending demand of displaced farmers and fishermen

  • Reduction in notified Kolleru lake area from contour +5 to contour +3 sought