A detailed independent scientific survey of tree and animal life conducted recently in the areas near the proposed Pharma City revealed the presence of a variety of life forms, particularly raptors (birds of prey). Researcher Pranay Juvvadi of the Raptor Conservation Foundation submitted a copy of the survey to the Environment Assessment Committee (EAC), which is seized of the Hyderabad Pharma City project.
The report, which is armed with photographs and lists of the local flora and fauna, negates the claims made in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) documents submitted to the EAC in support of the Pharma City.
Juvvadi said the reserve forest blocks of Muddivennu, Kartal and Tippareddipalli are near the proposed Hyderabad Pharma City. The forest blocks are in fact a continuous extension from the agricultural fields of Mucherla, Kurmidde, Tadiparthi, Pallechelka Tanda, Medipally, Nanaknagar and Saireddigudem villages. The agricultural fields are now being acquired for the Pharma City.
“Reserved forest blocks of Muddivennu, Kartal and Tippareddipalli are spread over 80 sq km of continuous and unencroached scrub and dry deciduous hill forest. This is one of the very few large patches of such habitats left around Hyderabad. The flora and fauna haven’t been surveyed and these dry forests aren’t given importance, often labelled as dry barren hills with sparse vegetation. But this is the nature of the habitat and it is home to many species of plants, and mammals, birds and host of other fauna,” Pranay said in his complaint to the EAC.
Most notable species found in these hills are endangered Yellow Throated Bulbul, an IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List species. There are scats that indicate existence of leopards. The hill range is also a crucial catchment area that feeds many streams and tanks meeting the drinking water needs of people and domestic animals.
Juvvadi said about 20,000 acres of crop lands, hills and other open grassland and scrub land falling in the proposed project area will spell a death knell to the forest and agroecological landscape.
While the EIA report has listed white rumped vultures as “very common”, the fact is that they are Schedule I protected wildlife. Other raptors sighted during the survey include snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus, white-eyed buzzard Butastur teesa, Shikra, black shouldered kite, pallid harrier.
Juvvadi said, EIA report was prepared in a hurry covering a radius of only 10km, but claimed that the area is “not very much disaster prone of any kind”. “EPTRI has written such highly misleading and false information in its draft EIA report, which raises questions about its intention,” he alleged.