|The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change on Friday issued in-principle approval to stage-one forest clearance to Sitarama Lift Irrigation Project in Khammam and Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts for diversion of 1,512 hectares and re-diversion of 19 ha forest land for the project needs.|
A total of 1,531 ha forest land falling under five forest divisions - Manuguru, Paloncha and Kothagudem in Bhadradri district and Sathupally and Khammam in Khammam district - is intended to be used for construction of canals, tunnels, laying of power lines and others.
The order on stage-one forest clearance has been issued by the regional empowered committee of the ministry based at Chennai.
While giving the stage-one forest clearance the Ministry has specified that demarcation of the forest land proposed for diversion should be done with 4-feet high cement-concrete pillars and compensatory afforestation for the whole project should be taken up and maintained by the State Forest Department in the identified non-forest and degraded forest lands.
The non-forest land identified for the purpose should be transferred and mutated in favour of the State Forest Departmentm, the clearance notice said.
The State Government has been directed to charge net present value (NPV) for the forest land proposed for diversion from the user agency — Irrigation Department — and to deposit the funds in the Compensatory Afforest and Fund Management Planning Authority (CAMPA) account of Telangana.
However, the forest area falling inside the eco-sensitive zone of Kinnerasani wild life sanctuary would be handed over to the user agency only after the prior approval of the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).