VISAKHAPATNAM: The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) is soon calling for tenders to develop Narava and Nadupuru forest blocks on the outskirts of the city. The move has come in the wake of the government asking the APIIC recently to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for developing the Narava and Nadupuru forest blocks, spread in an extent of 1,700 acres.
The local APIIC officials have sent the file to their head-office to call for tenders, even as the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) invited tenders for the development of Seethakonda and Yerrakonda forest blocks, a couple of days ago. The district administration is acting quickly to get clearances from the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) for acquiring the four forest blocks on the city outskirts, spread in an extent of 3,000 acres.
Tahsildars to identify and list out available government lands and details of encroachments across the district, as there is a need to take up massive afforestation in compensation for de-notifying and developing the forest blocks.
It may be noted here that the TDP government had issued orders to the district administration to identify forest lands for de-notifying them to undertake various projects. It also constituted a committed with the joint collector as its chairman and the panel had already identified Seethakonda, Yerrakonda, Narava and Nadupuru forest blocks for commercial exploitation. Subsequently, VUDA has been asked to prepare DPRs for Seethakonda and Yerrakona blocks, while the APIIC has been told to prepare DPRs for Narava and Nadupuru forest blocks.
Now, the district administration is looking for about 6,000 acres of land to take up compensatory afforestation to get approval for commercial exploitation of the 3,000 acres of forest hills. “The administration has asked us to prepare DPRs for Narava and Nadupuru forest blocks. We have already sent the file to our head-office for necessary action and the head-office will call for tenders shortly,” said APIIC executive director K Rathasaradhi.
According to the senior officials of APIIC, the district administration has been strictly told to fulfil all the requirements of MoEF for denotifying the lands.
“The government has big plans to develop the four forest blocks in the city, since they are in prime location and the city has good road, rail, water and air connectivity, besides good infrastructure. The chief minister himself is chipping in to get some foreign investments to the city. He also has plans to develop tourism, housing projects and theme parks of global standards in the sites. However, all these will be possible only after getting the MoEF clearances. In view of the strict guidelines of the MoEF, the officials have been directed to answer all the MoEF points in the DPRs,” a senior IAS officer said.
When contacted, joint collector J Nivas said that the government has the right to ask the MoEF to denotify the forest lands, provided it gives out valid reasons as to why the lands have to be denotified. “We know the directions of the Supreme Court and we are ready to face the challenges likely to crop up while acquiring the clearances. The district administration is in the job of identifying lands for afforestation. It already identified 2,500 acres of land for the purpose, anticipating clearances for Seethakonda and Yerrakonda forest blocks. Meanwhile, it will take some time to prepare the DPRs as it is a lengthy process to get the required permissions,” he added.