Andhra Pradesh Rythu Coolie Sangham State president Simhadri Jhansi on Tuesday said that the amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act-1980 would be detrimental to the interests of the society as it would lead to ecological imbalances and drying up of rivers.
The outfit organised a large public meeting, rally and cultural programmes in Parvatipuram to draw public attention to their cause. Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Jhansi said that through the proposal to amend the Act, the Union government was hoping to benefit the corporate firms which in turn were planning to loot mineral wealth of the country.
“Even the British had given top priority to the conservation of forests as they would ensure ecological balance and a smooth flow of rainwater into the sea. The livelihood of lakhs of tribal people would be affected by the relaxation of norms,” Ms. Jhansi alleged.
Member of AP Legislative Assembly (Teachers’ Constituency) Pakalapati Raghuvarma feared that the farmers and common people would also become victims if amendments were made to the historic Act which was enacted to protect not just flora but fauna as well. He assured to raise the issue in the next session of the Legislative Council.
The organisation’s district secretary D. Varma asked the State government to strongly oppose the amendments as it would lead to extraction of mineral wealth in Parvatipuram-Manyam district. AP Teachers’ Federation State general secretary K. Bhanumurthy said that future generations would pay the price for the systematic damage being caused to the environment now.
Several leaders of various local organisations were present at the meeting. Many tribals from different parts of Gumma Lakshmipuram, Kurupam, Makkuva, Saluru and other mandals vowed to fight the government’s move to amend the Act.