Mission Bhageeratha benefits for Telangana state, Left wing extremism, widely prevalent across Telangana till a decade ago, is helping Mission Bhageeratha, the Telangana State Drinking Water Project, in ways that one could not have fathomed!
Mission Bhageeratha benefits for Telangana
For one, it is thanks to the concessions allowed by the Central Government to the districts affected by Left-wing extremism, that the Telangana government is able to pitch its proposals for diversion of forest lands for the project with relative ease.
Secondly, the concession has also helped the government to get round the norms of compulsory compensatory afforestation.
If not for the concessions, rules framed for implementation of Forest Conservation Act do not allow diversion of more than a hectare of forest land in any single instance for creation of critical public utility infrastructure, without compensatory afforestation.
The Centre has, from time to time, identified a total of 82 districts as affected by the Left-wing extremism, in which the upper limit for diversion of forest land has been raised to five hectares for implementation of Integrated Action Plan.
Starting with Khammam and Adilabad in 2011, eight districts in Telangana, except Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy, have been identified over years by the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Home Affairs, as the affected ones. The State Government has thus got additional leeway of four hectares per instance of forest diversion in the eight districts.
Panchayat Raj department, which is entrusted with the work of Mission Bhageeratha, has made the most of this opportunity, by ensuring that very few instances of forest land diversion exceeded the extent of five hectares.
As per official information, while over 1,700 hectares of forest land needs to be diverted for the entire project, it has been ensured that there are very few instances of deforestation involving more than five hectares.
As a result, only 110 hectares comprised instances of deforestation over and above five hectares.
Resultant advantage is, the State government can do away with compensatory afforestation provisions, which include allotment of alternative non-forest site for afforestation, and payment of compensation for the same based on the estimates by state Forest Department.
“The proposals will have to get approved by the Ministry of Environment and Forests either way. But the compensatory afforestation provisions need not be adhered to for diversions less than five hectares.
We shall anyway be required to pay the Net Present Value (NPV) of the forest land to be denuded,” says Engineer in Chief, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, B.Surender Reddy, who is monitoring the Mission Bhageeratha works.
Assembly Segments to get drinking water under first phase of Mission Bhagiratha
- Gajwel, Siddipet and Dubbak in Medak
- Palakurthy, Station Ghanpur and Jangoan in Warangal.
- Bhongir, Aleru and Tungaturthy in Nalgonda
- Medchal in Rangareddy district