The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Environment Ministry on Wednesday declined clearance to eight infrastructure proposals for the capital region of Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh. The FAC rejected the pleas saying the user agencies had not explored options to use non-forest lands for the project development.
The proposed projects were to come up at 3,306 hectares of forest land, and included the establishment of adventure eco-theme park, integrated institutional complex, science city, eco-tourism village, bio-diversity park and offices of various government agencies, namely in the Guntur forest division in Andhra Pradesh.
The Environment Ministry formed an expert panel to examine the Andhra Pradeshâ€™s master plans for Amaravati after several environmental concerns were raised over the project in 2015.
The total project involves the diversion of 13,267.12 hectares of forest land to the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) for infrastructure development.
The six-member FAC body said the user agency had not explored the possibilities of taking up the projects on non-forest land which is more than 95% of the entire area of the capital region.
â€śArea under reserve forest (RF) is less than 5% of the entire area of the capital region, which in the opinion of FAC is too less area as a green cover in any capital city,â€ť said the committee which has power to give clearance for diversion of forest land for non-forest works after analysing the status of the existing green cover, reported Times of India.
â€śThe state government should make efforts to increase the total area under green cover, in line with some of the best capital regions in the country and also make efforts to increase the density of the existing RF in the capital region,â€ť the committee added.
The matter had come up before the FAC, headed by director general of forest and special secretary Siddhanta Das, on November 15.
The user agencies can now approach this committee after exploring the option of non-forest areas for these projects in the Capital Region.