Andhra Pradesh

SC panel urged to stop Kolleru denotification

Under threat: Asia’s oldest and largest fresh water lake is also a magnificent migratory bird habitat.   | Photo Credit: V RAJU.

Environmentalists striving to protect the Kolleru Lake, a wetland protected under the Ramsar Convention and a haven for lakhs of water fowls, have written to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to stop the National Wildlife Board (NWB) from denotifying the patta lands until a case forwarded by the Supreme Court to the Andhra Pradesh High Court was disposed of.

Former zoology lecturer based in Bhimavaram B.V. Seshagiri Rao; environmental activist Pathanjali Sastry; member of the Azeez Committee on Kolleru and former IAS officer S. Ashok Kumar; and activist Captain J. Rama Rao have all written separate letters to the CEC constituted by the Supreme Court. Prof Seshagiri Rao, in his letter, informed the CEC that a contempt petition for violation of the Supreme Court’s objectives was pending final disposal. The Supreme Courted had directed the A.P. High Court to examine the matter.

‘Fresh petition soon’

He said that environmentalists were going to file a fresh petition in the A.P. High Court shortly. A similar petition pertaining to all Ramsar sites, also forwarded by the Supreme Court to the A.P. High Court, was also pending, he added.

Prof. Seshagiri Rao said that Kolleru Lake was Asia’s oldest and largest fresh water lake and a magnificent migratory bird habitat. The Union and State governments were obliged to protect the Ramsar site as the Government of India was a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, he observed.

Thanks to the intervention of the Supreme Court in 2006-2007, several encroachments had been demolished. But in less than three years, illegal fish ponds surfaced again, apparently with the support of the local politicians, he alleged.

When the Aziz Committee had rejected the State government’s resolution to downsize the sanctuary to contour + 3, the Union Government had constituted a study group headed by Raman Sukumar, a professor, to make fresh recommendations. Prof. Sukumar, while rejecting the resizing move, recommended denotification of private patta land in the northern boundary of the sanctuary. “This is a bad recommendation,” Prof Seshagiri Rao asserted. “I request you to direct the NBW not to take any decision in the matter till its disposal by the High Court,” he said.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 3:01:57 PM |

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