AP’s ambitious projects pose threat to coast, warn experts
The State government’s proposal to construct 14 ports to make Andhra Pradesh a logistic hub, its policy to make State as an aqua capital and numerous other proposals like establishment of petro chemical and shipbuilding industries and other activities along the State’s coastline might compromise the safety of people, warn environmentalists.
Hyderabad: The State government’s proposal to construct 14 ports to make Andhra Pradesh a logistic hub, its policy to make State as an aqua capital and numerous other proposals like establishment of petro chemical and shipbuilding industries and other activities along the State’s coastline might compromise the safety of people, warn environmentalists.
- Andhra Pradesh government plans to cash in on more than 900 km coastline
- Among the projects planned are 14 ports and a petro corridor along the coast
- Experts say some projects affect mangrove cover
- Mangroves area in AP came down from 495 sq km in 1987 to 353 km now
- The State government, however, cites the instance of permission given for clearing of mangroves in 108 acres at Mumbai for airport
In the absence of an Environment Performance Index (EPI) in the State to quantify the multi-faceted consequences ahead of rolling out these proposals, it may pose a danger to the mangrove forests near estuarine areas in Krishna and Godavari districts. In turn, the people living along the shoreline villages might get exposed to cyclones.
According to forest department sources, apart from small patches in Nellore, Visakhapatnam and West Godavari, mangroves were spread in about 156 sq kms in Krishna and in about 241 sq kms in East Godavari district. Mangrove forests form a natural barrier against cyclones and mitigate their effects.
However, during the Congress regime, attempts were made to allot lands near Polatitipppa for power projects. This had resulted in unauthorised felling of mangroves in an extent of 100 acres, said a senior forest official. “It was the intervention of the High Court, that the Krishna-Mangroves were saved,” he said. Now around the same places the new government is trying to propose some projects, he added.
Likewise, proposal for a shipbuilding unit had not take off near Kakinada, after people raised hue and cry over its impact on the mangroves and other environmental concerns. Now around the same areas, new proposals like petro-chemical, aqua, shipping, power and other projects have been proposed by the new government in both Krishna and Godavari coastal areas.