Andhra must submit land use plan for Amaravati: Central panel

New Delhi: The Andhra Pradesh government’s plans to build a greenfield capital city Amaravati have hit a green hurdle, with the Centre’s forest panel rejecting the proposal to approve the project without land use plan and a compensatory afforestation scheme.

The state has sought forest clearance for diversion of 13,267.12 hectares of forest land in favour of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority for building the capital city. It had submitted the revised proposal on April 25 this year.

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) — the apex body in the Union Environment Ministry that approves or rejects proposals for diversion of forest land — examined the Andhra Pradesh government’s revised proposal on July 12.

“In the recent meeting, the FAC examined the revised proposal. It heard the state government’s request to exempt the land use plan, among others. After detailed deliberation, the FAC asked the state government to submit the detailed land use plan,” a senior Environment Ministry official said.

The state government was informed that the purpose-wise break-up is of particular significance in decision-making on whether to permit diversion of entire forest land sought to be diverted, or whether lesser extent can be utilised, or whether no forest land should be permitted for the activity at all, the official said.

The FAC has also sought clarification from the state government as to how much forest land is sought to be diverted for the Amaravati city and for the Andhra Pradesh capital region, separately, the official said.

The state has also been asked to “recheck” the compensatory afforestation sites in lieu of the rocky patches and submit a detailed plan in this regard.

The FAC also noted that that area sought for diversion appears to be flood prone/flood plain and there is litigation to this effect pending before the National Green Tribunal. It sought clarification from the state government on this matter, the official added.

The Andhra government, on June 18, had written a letter to the ministry seeking exemption from submission of land use plan, detailed compensatory afforestation scheme, FRA certificates, along with gram sabha resolutions of Krishna and Guntur districts, DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) maps of compensatory afforestation land and some references to the litigation pending before the NGT.

As per the revised proposal, the state government has agreed to pay the Net Present Value (NPV) as prescribed and also provide equal extent of non-forest land for compensatory afforestation (CA).