TELANGANA

Nod for diversion of forest lands

The Tummidi-Hetti barrage which is part of the B.R.Ambedkar Pranahitha irrigation project has received the stamp of approval by the Telangana State Board for Wild Life in its third meeting on Tuesday, this time too without the presence of its chairman and Chief Minister K.Chandrashekhar Rao.

The proposal for diversion of 622 hectares of forest land falling in the tiger corridor area linking Kawal Tiger Reserve in the State with the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra and Indravathi Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, was cleared by the Board, and forwarded for the approval of the National Board for Wild Life.

Main canal

This extent is part of a total of 1136 hectares of forest area proposed for diversion for the project.

The project area falls in Kagaznagar and Asifabad forest divisions and entails construction of the barrage and main canal for the Pranahitha project.

The proposed area constitutes approximately a fifth of the total tiger corridor area which is over 3,000 hectares, officials informed.

CM absent

Activists, however, are crying foul about crucial proposals being cleared without the attendance of the Chief Minister, who chairs the Board.

As has been with the previous meetings, the third meeting too was chaired by Minister for Environment and Forests Jogu Ramanna.

“Not for nothing has the Chief Minister been anointed as the chairman of the Board. The intention was to accord the issues pertaining to the wild life, utmost priority. This is the third meeting of the Board after formation of Telangana as separate State, which has been chaired by the Forest Minister,” says a member under the condition of anonymity.

Rejection possible

Another member says, there were instances from other States, when the Centre had rejected proposals passed in the absence of the chief minister as chairman.

They point out that the Uranium exploration proposal in Amrabad Tiger Reserve too was cleared without the presence of the Chief Minister during the last meeting.

Other proposals

Other proposals which were cleared on Tuesday include diversion of over 63 hectares of forest land in Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary, respectively for widening of the road, erection of 400KV transmission lines by the TSTransco, and laying of pipelines and structures for Mission Bhagiratha project.