SECU team inspects Andhra’s Kakinada mangrove forest- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

KAKINADA: A team of experts from the Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU) of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has inspected the mangrove forest in Kakinada district following complaints that it is being destroyed.

Democratic Traditional Fishers and Workers Forum general secretary D Pal lodged a complaint with the SECU on September 9, 2020 alleging that YSRC leaders in Kakinada with the help of some district officials were destroying mangrove plantations to prepare layouts for house sites.

A team of seven experts reached Kakinada on April 13 and inspected the coastal areas, where the mangrove forest was reportedly being destroyed to make way for housing layouts, till April 16. The team, accompanied by Pal visited, Mulapeta, Addaripeta, Uppada, Dummulapeta, Parlopeta and Korangi and interacted with villagers. The team is expected to release its report in two months. 

Around 300 acres of land, which is under the Ports Department, was acquired for the Pedalandariki Illu scheme by previous Kakinada Revenue Divisional Officer Chinni Krishna. The land was handed over to the Kakinada Municipal Corporation to develop a layout and allot housing plots to beneficiaries. 

The land includes a creek and a little bit of mangrove forest. The creek meets the sea at the Kakinada port office. If the sea has high tide, sea water flows into it. The boats of fishermen of Dummulapeta and neighbouring areas  are anchored in the canal. It is a nearby residential area, so the fishermen easily come and go through this canal after fishing. The railways laid a rail line for import and export purposes and it is adjacent to Dummulapeta.

Beside the rail line, the previous TDP government had acquired land in survey Nos 375/1A, 382, 385. According to sources, the then District Collector had raised objections to the construction of houses, but the political pressure had led to construction of NTR double bedroom flats. Later, the YSRC government directed officials to acquire land for the housing scheme.

Revenue officials and local MLAs inspected vacant lands in the district. Eventually, the land under the Ports Department was identified for the housing scheme. Meanwhile, four local fishermen had moved the High Court to stop the land development at the place. 

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