HYDERABAD: Following an Express report regarding the finalisation of the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of KBR National Park that would result in reduction of the width of the walkway around it, activists and environmentalists are now contemplating to take legal recourse. They had been waiting for a public hearing before finalisation of the ESZ as directed earlier by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
It was reported in these columns on Tuesday that the final notification declaring ESZ of KBR National Park, an area of 0.0582 square km from 3 m to 29.8 m from the forest’s boundary. Official documents say that the Telangana Forest Department conducted a public hearing, however, officials told Express it was not conducted.
“When the draft notification was published in 2018 proposing 3 m to 29.8 m from the national park’s boundary as its ESZ, hundreds of people sent their objections to the MoEF. It was after this that the Ministry directed Telangana Forest Department to conduct a public hearing. How can the Ministry grant approval to the ESZ proposal, without first getting a report on public hearing from Forest Department?” said activist Kaajal Maheshwari.
She said, “We are exploring various options including writing to MoEF, seeking information from the Ministry about public hearing through RTI or knocking the doors of the court or NGT.”City-based environmentalist, Donthi Narasimha Reddy said, “Now that the final notification has been published, there is no option but to take the legal recourse.”
Suruchi Singh, the advocate who fought on this issue earlier in National Green Tribunal, said, “It was the MoEF that had asked for a public hearing. How can it rubbish its own order and grant approval for publication of the ESZ notification? We will take action to know if the public hearing was really conducted.”