National

Move to denotify Vizag hill lands flayed

Our Bureau Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 23, 2018

The move by the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) to obtain 3,000 acres of reserve forest land on the hills surrounding Visakhapatnam city has come in for criticism from green activists, politicians and others.

The VUDA proposes to use the land for promoting tourism, and for residential and commercial purposes. After the Hudhud cyclone which devastated the city on October 11 last year, almost half the green cover in the city has been lost and it is feared that the move to denotify forest lands on the hills will turn the city into a total concrete jungle.

According to Ratnam, of the Greeen Climate, it is a disastrous move and it is in violation of the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment and also several Supreme Court guidelines. "The emphasis should be not only on turning Vizag into a smart city but a green city. It has always been known for the sea and the hills and, even if the Government wants to promote tourism, no harm should be done to the city environs," he said.

He has said that with increasing industrialisation the pollution levels are going up all the time in the city and the move will further compound the problem. He has urged the authorities to give up the proposal.

K. Dorababau, the former deputy mayor, has said the move is intended only to further the vested interests of certain group and the public will have to face the consequences. "On the one hand the Government has taken up Greeen Visakha campaign after Hudhud and now comes the move to denotify forest lands. How does it help in greening Vizag ?" he has questioned and warned the Government that the move will be fought at all levels.

He has also said that after denotification the Government will have to take up afforestation in 6,000 acres according to the guidelines and it will be impossible to find so much land. "Therefore, we hope wiser counsel will prevail and the Government gives up the proposal," he said.

sarma.rs@thehindu.co.in

Published on May 13, 2015

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