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Resource Center
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Jairam Stops ‘Eco-Tourism’ Project In Andhra
March 28, 2011
 
Jairam Stops ‘Eco-Tourism’ Project In Andhra


http://www.indianexpress.com/news/jairam-stops-ecotourism-project-in-andhra/760937/0

28 March 2011

Amitabh Sinha, New Delhi:


The Environment Ministry has stopped an ambitious project to construct a hotel, a multiplex and a convention centre in a reserve forest area of Hyderabad under the garb of promoting eco-tourism, citing serious violations of project conditions.

The Sri Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy Botanical Garden, Night Safari and Eco-Park and Bird Park is being planned at the Kothaguda Reserve Forests in Hyderabad as an eco-tourism project. The project was approved in 2004.

The project is being developed by private companies that have been awarded contracts by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Development Corporation, the nodal agency in the state to execute eco-tourism initiatives.

In a letter to Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh wrote that his ministry was “dismayed to learn that...the project proponents have actually planned to construct huge concrete structures such as a large hotel with 300 to 400 rooms, a convention centre with a seating capacity of 2,500 people and a multiplex having a dozen screens with a multi-level parking lot for about 5,000 vehicles, which will be totally unacceptable in a forest area”.

This, Jairam noted, was in stark contrast to the conditions specified in the approval that clearly mentioned no permanent construction should be done within forest areas and that only temporary structures would be allowed.

Jairam said, on the express request of the state government, these conditions were relaxed a bit in September 2005 but even then only a maximum of two floors was allowed to be constructed with the cement component being restricted to erecting concrete beams.

“I am, therefore, withdrawing the forest clearance given by this ministry for this project and asking the Forest Advisory Committee to scrutinise in detail each and every component of the proposed project so that such gross blunders can be avoided...,” he said.