Angered by the ongoing construction activity for the installation of 'open gyms' at the Kasu Brahmananda Reddy (KBR) National Park in Hyderabad, environmentalists are all set to drag the Telangana government to court.
The letter written by activists Captain J Rama Rao, Omim Maneckshaw Debara and Kaajal Maheshwari claim that the construction was a violation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It has been written to IGF (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in New Delhi.
"National Parks in India are specially categorised as protected areas as provided under the Wild Life Protection Act (WLPA). National parks, amongst others, are by law more strictly protected, allowing virtually no human activity except that which is in the interest of wildlife conservation. Grazing and private rights are disallowed in National Parks," the letter reads.
It then goes on to list the alleged violations committed by the state government, from the construction of three open gymnasiums, to cutting of natural rocks.
"Freshly painted metal posts and paver stones that suggest plans for further construction. Toxic paint boxes and trash like plastics, tools, pointed nails etc are also strewn at different places," the letter claimed.
"At one point of time, the KBR National Park was known as the 'Green Lung' of Hyderabad. It has now clearly become a victim of slow death. The trees are not watered regularly which has resulted in dead and fallen trees. These are then removed to facilitate these activities inside the National Park. In addition to that, the level of human intervention is very high which has led to decrease in the population of wildlife. The state government and the Forest Department are not taking any substantial steps to stop the human intervention and instead, are creating avenues to increase it," the activists said in the letter.
Attaching pictures of the violations, the activists demanded that all new structures in the park had to be removed, and plantation drives had to be undertaken.
"In the event of no action being taken within 60 days from the date of this notice, then we will be constrained to approach the appropriate forum to seek justice," the letter concludes.
This is not the first time that the Telangana government has courted controversy over KBR park.
In 2016, scores of Hyderabadis took to the streets holding placards and raising slogans to protect trees from being axed at the city's iconic lung space.
Activists had challenged the Telangana government's Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP), which proposed to decongest traffic in certain areas of the city at the price of green cover.
As part of the SRDP, six junctions were to be developed, and were to witness the construction of multi-layer flyovers, including KBR Park entrance, Jubilee Hills checkpost, Film Nagar junction, Jubilee Hills Road No. 45, Maharaja Agrasen junction (Banjara Hills Road No. 12) and Cancer Hospital junction (Banjara Hills Road No. 10).