Medaram missing its quintessence

Medaram missing its quintessence
Highlights

Medaram, the abode of Sammakka-Saralamma jatara, once tucked in deep forest and hard to reach by, is now a ghost of its past glory, this despite the spread of ethnic identity of the aboriginals far and wide across the globe.

Medaram (Jayashankar-Bhupalpally): Medaram, the abode of Sammakka-Saralamma jatara, once tucked in deep forest and hard to reach by, is now a ghost of its past glory, this despite the spread of ethnic identity of the aboriginals far and wide across the globe.

Over the decades, the popularity of the Medaram jatara grew exponentially. The jatara that once drew only tribal communities, over a period of time started to attract the non-tribals also. The jatara, which has seen people coming on foot, bullock carts and buses, has now reached a stage to draw pilgrims by helicopter. It may be noted here that chopper services are available from this year.

This apart, the arrangements for the jatara have gone hi-tech with the authorities using gadgetry such as crowd detection cameras, CCTV cameras, drone surveillance and variable message signs (VMS), besides providing upscale camping (luxurious tents) facility and food courts to lure high-end tourists.

However, what is missing from tribal fair is its very essence –greenery. It may be noted here that tribals worship nature and trees. Once the road that led to Medaram jatara from Mulugu was a dense forest. Now it was reduced to a combination of moderate dense and scrub forest. Moreover, this too disappears as Medaram approaches close.

With development all around, Medaram has now become almost a plain land. The loss of green cover was predominantly due to forest land being converted for agriculture, besides conversion of forest land to scrub/grassland and increase in human habitation.

The northern part of Telangana has seen a drastic reduction in forest area. According to a study conducted by National Remote Sensing Centre in 2015, more than half of forest cover in Telangana disappeared in the last seven decades. The forest cover has come down to 17,520 sq km in 2013 from 40,746 sq km in 1930.

“Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary spread across 806 sq kms has lost huge swathes of forest cover due to various reasons. Nearly 15,000 hectares of forest got affected due to shift cultivation since 2005. This apart, the developmental activity has also cast its shadow on forest cover. With the increase in human settlements and tourist footfall, several unauthorised thoroughfares have come up in the forest,” a forest official, on condition of anonymity told The Hans India.

The devotees occupy at least 2,500 hectares during the peak of biennial jatara. As a result, Medaram these days looks like a plain area, he said. According to locals, as many as 200 hectares of forest land has now become a plain area. Septuagenarian Gokarapu Sammakka, an ardent devotee of Medaram deities, said that in last couple of decades there was a huge destruction of forest. “I have been visiting the deities since my childhood. Then it was a dense forest and now it’s totally opposite.”

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