Commercial activity in botanical gardens

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Commercial activity (mall, multiplex, hotel, convention center) in the name of visitor ameneties for eco-tourism …

Commercial activity (mall, multiplex, hotel, convention center) in the name of visitor ameneties for eco-tourism
-- in botanical gardens of Hyderabad

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  • 1. Commercialization of botanical gardensHotel, convention center, mall, Office Blocks, Merchandise Multiplex and commercial blocks.. in the name of eco-tourism
    --The botanical gardens scam ?
  • 2. Background
    Originally, reserve forest area spread over 274.11 acres in Kothaguda, RangaReddy Dist, AP (now popularly known as botanical gardens, hyderabad).
    Now, a “bio diversity conservation and eco-tourism” project is coming up in
    This 274.11 acres of reserved forest and
    Another 6.5 acres(revenue land located in Sy No 62 of Kothaguda village, serlingampallymandal)
  • 3. Eco-tourism project Details
  • 4. So what’s wrong in bio diversity conservation and eco tourism?
    In the name of visitors amenities for promoting bio diversity conservation and eco tourism,
    152,000 sq mts (16,36,611 sft) built up area is being constructed in ground coverage area of 76,000 sq mtrs (8, 18,000 sft) in the “botanical gardens project”.
    Similar things are happening in night safari & eco park project
    So, what are these visitors amenities for the “eco tourism” ?
  • 5. The “visitors amenities”
  • 6. Continued ..
  • 7.
  • 8. Is this really true
    Yes. Refer to the
    “Concession agreement” dated 19/08/2008 between APFDCL and M/S DE LARA tourism corporation ltd.
    Eco tourism management plan dated 01/06/2009
    GHMC RTI response confirming that they received request to build “Cottages, convention center, Hotel, Office Blocks, Merchandise Multiplex and commercial blocks etc..”
  • 9. What was the original intention
    G.O. Rt No 240 issued by AP Govt in 07/2001
    APFDCL to take up the eco tourism project. Areas included are … (c) Kothaguda Reserved Forest (entire block) …“The vice chairman and managing director, APFDCL and the prl chief conservator of forests are also directed to see that the various activites/works that would proposed in the action plan for Bio-diversity Conservation and Eco-Tourism, within the limits of Reserved forests or sanctuaries or national parks or zoological parks shall be carried out strict, as per the legal provisions of various forest ..”
    MoEF in the in-principle approval letter dated 04/08/2004 :
    Adequate emphasis on minimum use of non-renewable energy sources. Preference should be given to the projects of Forest-Toursim using renewable energy sources, eg, solar light, solar cooking, stand-alone Windmills (if feasible) etc
    4d(i) No permanent structure shall be allowed to be constructed under the proposal in the forest areas. For accommodation, only temporary structures like tents/huts/collapsible structures (mean: such structures which can be dismantled and shifted from one place to another) shall be allowed. Cement/masonry work shall not be allowed above plinth level except in toilets.
    The tourism facilities should be environment friendly, simple, clean and wholesome. In this regard, the type of facilities created by Jungle&lodges corporation in the state of Karnataka is a case in point.
  • 10. What happened over time
    After letters from APFDCL, MoEF in a letter dated 12/09/2005 gave permission to
    4d(i) Maximum two floor (ground+1) construction will be permitted. Cement concrete construction upto plinth level shall be allowed. For construction, framed structure with cement concrete columns and beams above ground and uptofirest floor may be allowed. Other construction material should be eco-friendly like that made of bamboo, timer etc.
  • 11. What happened over time ..
    Shopping mall, 6 screen cineplex, 400 room hotel, 2500 seat theatre, bowling alley etc added to the plan
    MoEF, in letter dated 20/01/2010 gave permission to revised eco-tourism management plan (of 01/06/2009) which had all these changes for mall, cineplex, hotel etc
    Trying to get permission from MoEF for allowing “basement parking of vehicles and utilities wherever needed” in the name of maximizing green cover at ground level.
    Gov of AP, EFS&T Dept already allowed this (Reference: 9748/ForII(2)/08 dt: 18.05.2009)
    Still not clear what is why the 6.5 acre reserve land was allocated for “botanical garden annex plan” and what is the status of that land
  • 12. Events
  • 13.
  • 14. So, what’s next
    Get all the facts out and figure out what is going well and what are the real issues
    Raise awareness through media & citizen groups
    Somebody might approach the courts
    And hope law will take its own course
  • 15. Related documents
    Readers can form an informed opinion by going through these letters. Other documents which will give (good & bad) picture of the project are
    Concession Agreement Dated 19/08/2008 between APFDCL & M/S Delara tourism corporation ltd. Some of the excerpts at http://www.citizensocial.com/uploads/issues/e814530ab8acdcb16790aff906cbe9ad84326d6f.pdf
    Eco Tourism Management plan for Kothaguda reserve forest (as on 01/06/2009) which is around (89 pages + XI annexures)
    GOs, approvals etc at http://www.citizensocial.com/uploads/issues/41519044a51bfcb11fd89fac10188372b1e3fcc7.pdf
    For a quick summary on the “commercialization”, once can refer to http://www.citizensocial.com/uploads/issues/1e65faf5502f618d95d0e5d79409d8a85f4ddc2c.pptx
    GHMC RTI response at http://www.citizensocial.com/uploads/issues/654622540d94764dff9aeef2770e152ecf1391f0.pdf
    http://www.amchamindia.com/images/press_clip/weston.pdf