Warangal Urban: Tension prevailed at the Devunur village of Dharmasagar mandal in the district where a public hearing on the proposed quartz mining in the forest area was conducted on Thursday, with the environmental activists and others opposing the project expressing concerns over the threat to the forest area.
While the members of the Orugallu Wildlife Society (OWLS) and Vana Seva Society (VSS) staged a protest holding the placards demanding that the officials cancel the project and protect the forest area, which is the only forest area in the Warangal Urban district. A villager, SP Kamalakar Swamy, has even tried to consume some pesticide opposing the mining.
The representatives of the organisations submitted representations to District Collector Rajeev Gandhi Hanumanthu, who presided over the meeting conducted by the Pollution Control Board (PCB), and urged him to protect the forest which is to be declared as reserve forest besides urging to cancel the irregular pattas given to some private people in the middle of the forest.
“The Warangal Urban district has only one per cent forest area at the Devanur forest area where there is nearly 8,000 acres of forest land. We need to protect and preserve this precious habitat of wildlife. Opencast mining in the name of quartz mineral will do harm to the ecosystem of this area. It will also lead to man–animal conflict in the future as the rampant granite mining in the erstwhile Karimnagar resulted in the same,” said former District Forest Officer (DFO) K Purushotham at the public hearing.
He also added that former District Collector Amrapali Kata had indeed tried to develop this forest area as an eco-tourism spot since it is located just 25 km away from Warangal city. Environmental activist and advocate Potlapally Veerabhadra Rao said that they had been working towards protection of the forest and see that it would be declared as reserve forest. “Giving permission for the mining in the forest area in the guise of private land is illegal and unethical. We will oppose the proposed mining project tooth and nail. We may knock the doors of the courts of the law, if required,” he warned.
Meanwhile, official sources said that one Sivanta Minero Projects Pvt Ltd applied for the mining project in 14.85 hectares of the land at Devunur village. Responding to the representation submitted by the OWLS, District Collector Rajeev Gandhi Hanumanthu said that they would submit the report including the objections raised by the people and others to the State Empowered Committee on mining which would take a decision on the mining project.