The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has held that the allotment of land or grant of temporary patta by the district administration of YSR District to some persons in a few survey numbers in Nandyalampet village that is recorded as ‘forest’ in revenue records, without getting clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act, was not legal.
The NGT directed the Andhra Pradesh government to take appropriate steps to get clearance from the authorities concerned which in turn has been asked to consider such an application only after considering certain aspects. These include considering the question of whether conversion of forest land for non-forest purpose such as agricultural operations is permitted under Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, the proximity of these lands to the Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary” (comprising of entire Lankammalla and Lankamalla Extension Reserve Forests) and also the ‘Tiger Corridor’.
The NGT noted that the Tiger Corridor connects the Nagarjunasagar Tiger Reserve (NSTR), Srisailam to Sri Venkateswara National Park (SVNP), Tirupati. “So, conversion of this area for agricultural purposes is likely to enhance the possibility of man-animal conflicts,” the bench said.
It directed that the current tiger population and trends of tiger population growth must be taken into account and whether there is any need for expanding the sanctuary area and widening of the corridor to meet the growing needs of tiger population and to facilitate unhindered movement of tigers.
“If the State of Andhra Pradesh did not want to apply for any clearance, then they are directed to relocate the persons to whom temporary pattas have been granted to another area/land to which the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 is not extended and till then, no permanent activity of disturbing the nature of the land in dispute should be carried out by the persons in possession of the same,” the bench directed.
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