Telangana Forest Department plans to develop around ten forest areas around the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad as nature parks over the next few years, a senior official said here today.
Among other things, the department will develop eight to ten forest areas around twin cities as nature parks on the lines of Kasu Brahmananda Reddy (KBR) National Park to provide visitors the facilities to walk and enjoy clean and green environment, Telangana Chief Wildlife Warden P K Sharma told reporters.
"These proposed parks are also planned to be developed as centres of nature education," Sharma, who is also the Special Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Development), said.
These parks will be fully developed in a phased manner over the next few years, he said.
The official claimed that Hyderabad is the only city in the country which has three national parks-- KBR National Park, Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park at Vanasthalipuram and Mrugavani National Park at Chilkur.
There are also plans to develop a tiger corridor to link the Kawal Tiger Reserve (in Telangana) to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra and Indravathi Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, he said.
The total geographical area of Telangana state is 114.637 lakh hectares, out of which the forest area is 28.853 lakh hectares, while in terms of percentage of forest area it is 25.16 per cent.
To conserve the rich bio-diversity of Telangana, a network of 12 protected areas (PAs) have been notified, which includes nine wildlife sanctuaries and three national parks, Sharma said.
Stressing the need for enhancing the budgetary allocation to the department, he said, "If we don't invest in this sector, natural disasters may happen like in Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir, besides deficiency of rainfall."
Even the sanctioned staff to the department, which is required for patrolling and other tasks, is not adequate, as one forest personnel in Telangana protects 25 sq km of forest area when compared to other Southern states where the forest personnel cover less area between 5 to 8 sq kms, Sharma added.