Hyderabad: Nearly 5,000 trees in the Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary and the adjoining Jamandlapally Reserved Forest are under threat of being chopped down.
The state government has given permission to the National Highways division of the Roads and Buildings department for works to “improve” a stretch of road between Nakerrekal and Mallampally of NH- 365 measuring 17.1 km, of which 13.8 km falls in the Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary.
Pakhal is home to threatened animals like leopard, wolf, sloth bear and hyena. However, the Telangana Forest department, in the Part-II form to be filled for forest clearance, has stated that there are no endangered animals in the linear strip of 13.8 km of forest in the wildlife sanctuary.
A site inspection by the department revealed that there were more than 100 species of trees in this stretch that have been termed as “miscellaneous” by the department.
A major threat of roads passing through protected areas is that of wild animals getting killed in accidents. A sub-committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2013 had recommended that roads should not be widened in wildlife sanctuaries.
However, the Telangana Forest department has gone ahead and given permission to the proposal even though the R and B department has mentioned in its justification that the road will be widened due to projected increase in traffic. Presently around 8,000 vehicles pass every week through this road in the sanctuary....