WARANGAL: The Inuparathigutta forest spread over 800 hectares in Dharmasagar and Bheemadevarapally mandals of Hanumakonda district was slated to be developed as an eco-tourism spot and an ecological park due to its rich flora and fauna.
Despite constituting only one per cent of forest of the district, the eco-tourism effort is not moving forward due to the negligence of officials.
The area has not been notified as a reserve forest under Section 4 of the Telangana Forest Act despite the proposals sent to the collector. As a result, land grabbers have begun encroaching into the forest by creating fake documents for more than 100 acres under the adjoining Devunoor village.
The mining mafia is eyeing the hillocks. It is alleged that some officials were working with the mafia to aid illegal mining. Politicians and businessmen are looking to pocket the forest block and proposed mining here when green clubs like Vana Seva Society (VSS) and OWLS (Orugallu Wildlife Society) strongly objected to it.
Environmental activist and VSS president P. Veerabhadra Rao said according to the forest conservative Act, the wildlife Act and the public property Act, no activity should be allowed in forest blocks.
“Even though there is no visible cultivation in the area, patta passbooks have been issued. Such illegal passbooks should be cancelled or put on hold as there is a possibility of multiple transactions leading to further disputes. Those involved in illegal activities should be booked under criminal cases,” Veerabhadra said.
The patta passbooks were issued just two years ago, he said and added that electricity lines were laid inside the forest block. “Without the involvement of officials, this would not be possible. The forest department must follow court procedure to protect the land,” he said.
Nature lovers are worried that mining would affect wildlife and disturb the biodiversity.
“The Devunoor forest block is home to sloth bear, deer, chousingha, chinkara, jungle cats, monitor lizard and peafowl. There are also several medicinal herbs that could help research studies. The Supreme Court, in the Godhavarman case, ordered that any heritage land with forest nomenclature of any kind should not be diverted for non-forestry activities and such violation attracts Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and is prosecutable,” said G Shyam, secretary, OWLS....