Telangana’s summers will get worse due to proposed transmission station, say experts

Climate experts in Hyderabad warned against the Indian Navy’s pact with the Telangana government, to establish a transmission station in the Damagudem Reserve forest near Ananthagiri Hills in Vikarabad.
Telangana’s summers will get worse due to proposed transmission station, say experts
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Climate experts warn that Telangana will face progressively worse summers if the Indian Navy moves ahead with its plan to establish a new communication transmission station in the Damagudem Reserve Forest, as the cooling from the forest reserves will no longer modulate extreme heat. It could also negatively affect the wildlife in the Ananthagiri Hills, they say, The forest is located about 80 kilometers away from Ananthagiri Hills in Vikarabad district of Telangana. 

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, February 3, water and climate change expert BC Subba Rao spoke about the adverse impact of the project, which he said threatened to ruin the Damagudem forest reserve which boasts the highest Air Quality Index in Telangana. It would also mean doing away with 16,000 varieties of medicinal plants, he said. Subba Rao participated in the press meet with two other climate experts who worked with the Joint Action for Water and Citizens against Pollution —  environmentalist Prof K Purushotham Reddy and public policy expert Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi.

It was on January 24 that the Telangana forest officials inked a pact with officials of the Eastern Naval Command, to establish a very low-frequency (VLF) communication transmission station in Damagudem. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy. Currently, the only such station in India is the INS Kattabomman Radar Station in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.

“[The project] also affects the Musi, one of Krishna river’s tributaries which originates in Ananthagiri hills. CM Revanth spoke a few weeks about how he wants to develop the Musi riverfront along the lines of the Thames in London, but by inking this agreement, he is impacting the very source from which Musi emerges,” alleged Purushotham Reddy. 

Narasimha Reddy Donthi added that when this project was first proposed in 2010, there was criticism that it would end up affecting the stretch till Adilabad district, which is on the northernmost tip of Telangana. “If we damage our water bodies, our collective natural wealth, we will have to rely on Godavari to get water. Considering the fact that Godavari does not flow through Telangana, it is an exercise in futility, especially when we cultivate and restore our own water bodies,” he said.

Subba Rao also pointed out that researchers from Osmania University (OU) have published several papers on the economic value of the forest, which also needs to be taken into consideration. 

The expert committee demanded that the Telangana government prepare a biodiversity register, look into the economic value of the forest land, assess land quality, and conduct flood assessment to understand the adverse implications the forest would likely face due to the project. 

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