Hyderabad: The Telangana Government’s decision to acquire 200 acres in and around Medaram in Jayashankar-Bhupalpally district will not be an easy task as there are a few forest blocks in the vicinity.
Acquiring forest land involved a time-consuming procedure. An application would have to be submitted to the Union ministry of environment and forests, which would look into various aspects before giving clearances in two stages.
Green activists welcomed the government's decision to construct and improve facilities for the convenience of scores of devotees visiting the place for darshan of Samakka and Saralamma. But they said that emphasis on safeguarding the environment would have to be taken into account in equal measure.
Environmentalist Dr Sai Bhaskar Reddy expressed apprehensions that urbanisation in a peaceful tribal area might have an effect on the ecological balance.
“The entire region is calm and close to the nature. But the situation might not be the same if big concrete structures come up, big roads are laid, resulting in continuous flow and honking of vehicles. Where there is harmony in nature and where there is good environment, spirituality will be high,” he said.
Another activist P. Uma Maheshwar Reddy appreciated the government decision in the interest of pilgrims. But he wanted the government to take up an environment impact assessment on the whole project and also undertake a study on the long-term social and environment impact on the tribal population that had been living in the area for long. It should be a win-win situation for all, he said.
Noted environmentalist Purushotham Reddy tried to bring to the notice of the government that the world over, the focus was on protecting and increasing forest cover. He hoped that the Telangana government would take into consideration views and inputs by environmentalists.
Meanwhile, Jayashankar-Bhupalpally district officials said they were yet to get a clear picture on extent and types of land. Close to the main jatara area, there were government, assigned and even patta lands.
“The forest land is a few kilometres away. It has to be seen if forest land is required at all or the administration can do with other type of lands. Even if some portion of forest land is required for accommodation purposes, the eco-tourism model would be preferred where cottages and tents would be laid without damaging the forest,” they said.