OWLS), an NGO, in association with VSS, former DFO K Purushotham and village Sarapanch Dabba Kavitha organised a signature campaign at Devanur village and collected more than 500 signatures against mining
Hanamkonda: The agitation for the protection of the Devanur forest block, locally known as ‘Inuparathi Guttalu’ spread over Dharmasagar, Velair, Elkaturthy and Bheemadevarapally mandals in Hanamkonda, has picked up momentum after environmental activists and villagers began opposing the proposed quartz mining in the forest area.
As a part of the agitation, the Orugallu wildlife Society (OWLS), an NGO, in association with Vana Seva Society (VSS), former District Forest Officer (DFO) K Purushotham and village Sarapanch Dabba Kavitha organised a signature campaign at Devanur village and collected more than 500 signatures against mining in the forest area under Devanur Gram Panchayat limits on Wednesday.
Pittala Ravi Babu, an environmental activist, and one of the founders of the OWLS, alleged that fake land pattadar passbooks had been issued to some private persons in the forest area by the revenue authorities where a mining company was now trying to take up quartz mining, showing the disputed land as private land. “The State government must conduct a detailed probe into the irregularities and check the veracity of the pattas given to the private persons by cross-checking them with survey maps and pahani. The fake pattas should be cancelled and the forest should be protected,” he Ravi Babu said.
Purushotham said the then District Collector, Warangal Urban, Amrapali Kata and the them Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Warangal, MJ Akbar inspected the forest area in 2017 and proposed to develop it as an urban lung space and eco-tourism spot due to its proximity to Warangal city.
“There is only one per cent of forest land in Hanamkonda district, and that is Devanur forest area,” Purushotam said, adding that OWLS, Vana Seva Samithi and villagers opposed the mining and submitted a memorandum to District Collector Rajeev Gandhi Hanumanthu on August 5 this year at Devanur village during a public hearing meeting conducted by the Pollution Control Board (PCB).
OWLS founder Ch Shyam Sunder said the forest area was very rich in biodiversity and urged the government to protect the hillocks by declaring them as Reserve Forest (RF) and stop mining and other activities that would harm the environment. “Devanur forest block is a habitat for many wild animals, birds and many varieties of butterflies. It is an ideal place for trekking, birding, night camping and other eco-tourism activities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Aravind Arya Pakide, an archaeology and history enthusiast, said there were several medivial temples in the forest area and urged the government to protect them. “The State government should not allow opencast mining of quartz or quarrying in the forest area at any cost,” he said.
The Gram Sabha presided over by Devanur sarpanch Dabba Kavitha also passed a resolution against the opencast mining of quartz in the village. The sarpanch, MPTC, ward members and others participated in the signature campaign.
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