Thursday, December 01, 2016

Telangana: New airport planned in Kinnersani wildlife sanctuary, seriously!

The Kothagudem airport is facing hurdles as the proposed airport site falls in the Kinnersani wildlife sanctuary and the Punukuduchelka reserve forest and is unlikely to get clearances as the stringent process involves the Supreme Court, the Central Empowered Committee, the Central Board for Wild Life, the Union forests and environment ministry  and the State Wildlife Board.

The sanctuary, which now falls in the Bhadradri-Kothagudem district, is a known habitat of leopards, sambars, spotted deer and gaur. It used to have tigers. Though the Union civil aviation ministry in September last week had given site clearance for the Telangana State  Indu-strial Infrastructure Cor-poration project, the airport can be constructed only if it get all the clearances.

An environment consultant with Greencindia Consulting Private Limited of Ghaziabad, the project consultant for the TS Industrial Infrastructure Corpo-ration, said, “We came to know that the site falls in the sanctuary only a month ago. We have informed the ministry of environment. It is up to the ministry to take a call."

Asked about the chances of getting clearances, the consultant said, “Usually no clearances are granted in a wildlife sanctuary. The diversion of any part of a notified protected area may be considered only under the most exceptional circumstances taking full into account all consequences. For the Kothagudem airport project, the chances are bleak. We have informed this to the project proponent TSIIC."

Of the total 63,000 hecta-res of the sanctuary, aro-und 825 acres is proposed for diversion or denotification to build the airport. Kothagudem district forest officer C. Saravanan said, “The user agency has to obtain clearances as the airport falls in the sanctuary. Once we receive the proposals we will send our remarks.”
01/12/16 U Sudhakar Reddy/Deccan Chronicle