Confusion over YSR memorial

HYDERABAD: In a classic example of the left hand not knowing the right, the state government’s forest department head C Madhukar Raj on Tuesday evening contradicted what forest and environment minister P Ramachandra Reddy said about the YSR Memorial Park at Kurnool district earlier in the day.

Addressing the media, Ramachandra Reddy said CM K Rosaiah would unveil a statue of Rajasekhara Reddy close to the helicopter crash site on September 2, the first death anniversary of the deceased CM. The minister said the state has earmarked 1,412 hectares of forest land for the park which will come up at a cost of Rs 13 crore.

“We are hopeful of securing the environmental clearance for the project from the Union ministry of environment and forests soon,” he added. However, a few hours later, Madhukar Raj, principal chief conservator of forests, told TOI that the 1,412 hectare memorial park project on forest land has been shelved. “The minister might be confused. We have not sent any proposal whatsoever to the Centre seeking environmental clearance for the 1,412 hectare park,” he said.

According to Raj, the state is taking up a memorial park project on 22 acres of revenue land on which the statue of YSR will come up. It will also house a nature study and breeding centre for pea fowl at Nallakalava village, about 8 kms away from Pavuralagutta, the site of the accident. All this is on revenue land and requires no clearance from the Centre, Raj said. “Obviously Raj knows that the Union environment ministry is serious about protecting forests and therefore has given up the plan for the memorial on forest land,” an analyst said.

But even as the forest department head is asserting that the memorial on 1,412 hectares of forest land has been shelved, minister Ramachandra Reddy appears to have no clue about it.

The state cabinet had cleared the 1,412 hectare memorial park on the forest land on August 5 this year, for which central environmental clearance is required. The Smrithi Vanam was intended to have a 4-km trekking track to the accident area which goes through the reserve forest and needs central environmental clearance. But now, while the minister says the clearance for this project is awaited, the forest head says it has been shelved.


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