Nod for uranium exploration proposal in Amrabad tiger reserve

December 07, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 03:59 am IST - HYDERABAD:

The Amrabad Tiger Reserve spread over Mahabubnagar and Nalgonda districts.— File Photo

The Amrabad Tiger Reserve spread over Mahabubnagar and Nalgonda districts.— File Photo

A proposal for uranium exploration in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve has been cleared by the Telangana State Board for Wildlife on Tuesday, paving the way for mining of the subterranean element used in nuclear reactors and in production of nuclear weapons.

Proposal for exploration of the element in Amrabad reserve was tabled for discussion in the first ever meeting of the Board, which was chaired by Forest Minister Jogu Ramanna, here on Tuesday. The proposal was cleared unanimously by the Board, with not much opposition even from the independent members, sources informed. However, it was agreed that the exploration should be preceded by a visit by team from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The Board met for the first time in two years after it was reconstituted, post the bifurcation.

The proposal by the Regional Director of South Central Region of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) sought permission for uranium exploration survey over 83 square kilometres of the forest area falling in Amrabad Tiger Reserve which is spread over Amrabad and Udimilla in Mahabubnagar district and Narayanpur in Nalgonda district. Uranium exploration in the reserve has been a contentious issue right since early this millennium, when the same was proposed by the DAE. Environmentalists rose up against the mining proposal, resulting in the State Pollution Control Board vetoing it despite approval from the National Board of Wildlife.

The issue resurfaced when aerial reconnaissance was conducted a few years ago, to locate the uranium-rich regions in the reserve, giving rise to vocal protests by adivasis and environmentalists. After approval by the State Board, the proposal will now be sent to the National Board of Wildlife (NBW). Another major proposal that was cleared at the meeting was to allow movement of heavy vehicles through Kawal Tiger Reserve during day time.

Other proposals included notification of the nesting and breeding area of Long Billed Vultures in Bejjur range of Kagaznagar division as conservation reserve, and diversion of forest areas for Mission Bhageeratha project.

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