Wildlife sanctuary set to have new contours

Move necessitated by diversion of land for DRDO facility

Published - August 13, 2019 12:53 am IST - T. Appala Naidu

Local villagers fishing in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary.

Local villagers fishing in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Forest Department has identified 308.84 hectares of revenue land for inclusion in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) as recommended by the National Board for Wildlife, compensating the land being diverted for setting up Missile Test Launch Facility by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Nagayalanka mandal in Krishna District.

Declared a sanctuary in 1989, the KWS is spread across 194.84 hectares in Krishna and Guntur districts. The huge chunk of revenue land adjacent to the existing sanctuary is now supporting a moderately dense mangrove cover in Nagayalanka mandal, geographically near the confluence point of the river Krishna and the Bay of Bengal.

Heart of the matter

Of the total 154.42 hectares of forest land to be diverted to the DRDO, 45 acres falls in the heart of the sanctuary.

“The DRDO proposes to utilise 45-acre forest land in the sanctuary for the road facility that connects to the test and technical facility of the project, almost dividing it into two parts.” observed former Chief Wildlife Warden A.V. Joseph in his field report in 2014.

“The stretch of 308.84 hectares (761.085 acres) of revenue land adjacent to the KWS has been identified as per the recommendations of the National Board for Wildlife. The final notification exercise to include the area in the sanctuary has almost been completed. The higher authorities are re-examining the facts and area without any technical problems before issuing the final notification,” Divisional Forest Officer (Eluru-Wildlife) Anant Shankar told The Hindu .

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Forest Resources) V. Bhaskara Ramana Murthy told The Hindu : “The area, compensating the forest land to be diverted for the DRDO, has been identified adjacent to the KWS to ensure the maintenance of ecological balance and mangrove cover. ”

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