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Provide detailed land use plan of Amaravati city, forest panel tells Andhra government

Deferring clearance for using a massive 13,267 hectares of forest land to build the new capital city of Amaravati, the union environment and forest ministry has asked Andhra Pradesh government as to why have they not provided detailed land use plan in their proposal.

The proposal to divert over 13,000 hectares of forest land for the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority had come up for appraisal before the ministry’s forest advisory committee (FAC) earlier this month and it was found lacking in several aspects, official documents showed.

Building Amaravati capital city is N Chandrababu Naidu’s ambitious project. While the state government has already pooled in more than 33,000 acres of land with the help of farmers across 29 villages, it requires the crucial forest clearance for de-notifying over 13,000 hectares of forests in Krishna and Guntur districts.

Naidu While appraising the project, the forest advisory committee (FAC) noted that there was “no component wise break up of activities proposed over the land proposed for diversion, minutes of the meeting showed. Also, large swathes of the forest land sought for diversion are flood prone, the FAC noted.

The FAC said that a specific break up is of particular significance in decision making to decided whether entire forest land should be diverted or whether a smaller extent can be utilized or whether no forest land should be permitted for the activity at all.

According to the meeting’s minutes, the state government’s proposal only listed broad activities such as “tourism, recreation, cultural activities, industries and institutions.” The extent of these activities, the panel noted, their actual nature and impact on surroundings is to be taken into account for a learned decision.

During an earlier meeting with the panel, the state government had requested exemption from providing details of land use plans, it was not granted The committee also said that the compensatory afforestation sites identified by the state government were rocky and unfit for raising afforestation.

The committee has directed the state government to recheck the sites and the compensatory afforestation scheme has to be revised. After flagging these concerns, the FAC has asked the state government to provide a “detailed land use plan as per the Master Plan.” It has also asked the Andhra government to clarify the specific break up of forest land requirements for Amaravati and for the Andhra capital region.

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