The board announcing the salient features of the plantation being raised at Kotha Sarasala village limits in Kagaznagar forest range division does impress visitors. It, however, does not give any clue to the kind of ‘struggle’ that the Forest department had undertaken exactly one year back in order to raise the plantation.
June 30 marks completion of one year of the physical attack that the forest officials led by braveheart Kagaznagar Forest Range Officer Chole Anitha came under when they tried to plant saplings in the 20 hectare degraded forest land in compartments 133 and 136 of Raspalli beat and Reserve Forest Block in Kadamba extension. The incident had evoked revulsion across the country at that time.
The plantation in question was raised as compensatory afforestation for forest land that was submerged under the Kaleshwaram project. The land is situated close to spots which are being visited by migrant tigers and once the trees mature it will convert itself into an excellent forest which will support wildlife and local biodiversity.
The plantation is being given special attention also because it is close to the heart of none other than Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao as it compensates forest lost in construction of his pet Kaleshwaram project. The one year saw sincere efforts by the Forest Department which has resulted in good growth rate of the plants.
There are some 10 varieties of plants that have been planted in the 20 hectare plot and the total number of plants are 22,220 in 3m X 3m spacing. The varieties include neem, figs, bombax, bamboo and banyan, among others.
“If violence ruled this place one year back, the plantation has erased all evidence of it. Peace will continue ruling this place even as the trees mature over the period of time,” observed a forest officer.