Kaleshwaram project forest land diversion gets nod


All-important Environmental Clearance in an advanced stage

The Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project has cleared one more major hurdle on Friday, when the Forest Conservation Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change granted the Final/Stage-II approval for the diversion of 3,168.13 hectares of forest land spread over eight forest divisions.

It has already secured other important clearances such as Hydrology, Inter-State, Central Groundwater and Construction Machinery Consultancy in a span of one month. Stage-I Forest Clearance to the project was given on October 24 and according to the officials the exercise on the all important Environmental Clearance was in an advanced stage.

RoFR titles

In the communication sent to the Department of Environment and Forests of Telangana Government, Senior Assistant Inspector General of Forests (MoEF) Nisheeth Saxena stated: “On the basis of the compliance report furnished by the State Government, Final approval of the Central Government is granted for diversion of 3,168.13 ha of forest land in Mahadevpur, Karimnagar-Sircilla, Siddipet, Yadadri, Medak, Nizamabad, Banswada and Nirmal divisions for construction of canals, tunnels, lift systems, surge pools, delivery cisterns and reservoirs involved in Kaleshwaram project under Telangana Drinking Water Supply Project (TDWSP)”.

The approval, however, has also made it clear that “before commencement in the forest area, the State Government will ensure implementation of complete process for identification and settlement of rights for the entire 322.557 ha of forest area in Nirmal district and 323.367 ha of forest area in Nizamabad district”. Further, as resolved by the district-level committee of Nirmal district, 43 owners of Recognition of Forest Rights (RoFR) title deeds have to be dispossessed only after following due procedure of law including payment of appropriate compensation under Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

Afforestation efforts

Besides, compensation must be granted for loss of income from collection of beedi leaves, if any, in the affected area. A monitoring committee should also be constituted with the Central Government nominee to monitor the conditions being stipulated including those pertaining to compensatory plantation.

The State Government has permitted the Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project Corporation (KIPC) on November 7 for payment of ₹722.3 crore as compensatory levies to the ad hoc account of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) – Telangana and to the Forest Department accounts in lieu of diversion of 3,168.13 ha forest land for the project work.

Accordingly, ₹.704.38 crore was deposited to the ad hoc CAMPA account of Telangana and Rs.17.93 crore to the DFO/FDO PD accounts of the eight forest divisions.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 8:56:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/kaleshwaram-project-forest-land-diversion-gets-nod/article20805334.ece

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