MASAIPET (Nalgonda): The grandiose plans for developing Yadadri on the lines of Tirumala, which were unveiled by the state government a few months ago, have begun taking a severe toll on the environment in the temple town. Large scale destruction of hillocks and felling of trees as well as conversion of agricultural lands into residential plots has become the order of the day, transforming the landscape of Yadagirigutta for miles around.
With the real estate boom around Yadagirigutta following the announcement of an overhaul for Yadadri, scores of illegal layouts have come up in a 20 km radius of the temple. Many layouts do not have the required permissions from the respective village and district panchayat officials as well as the Director of Town and Country Planning (DTCP). It is the DTCP that releases sanctioned plans for larger layouts.
Saidapur, Masaipet and Mallapur villages, located close to Yadadri, have emerged as the most sought after areas for real estate development and the concerns being expressed by villagers are being ignored by the developers.
For instance, a real estate firm purchased about 250 acres and entered into an agreement for another 200 acres in Masaipet, 5 km from Yadagirigutta, for developing layouts. Sources said the firm's venture is considered to be the biggest in the area, which connects the temple town to Mallapur, where a 'Abhayaranyam' is coming up as part of the Yadadri development.
Villagers of Masaipet alleged that the private developer has been resorting to illegal blasting and levelling of hillocks in and around their village to develop plots. The firm has already levelled nine hillocks while another 11 hillocks up to Mallapur village are marked for levelling.
Incidentally, the firm neither has permission for its proposed layout in 100 acres (in the first phase of its venture) from the DTCP nor does t have permission for blasting the hillocks from the mining department. In fact, Yadagirigutta tehsildar P Ramakrishna said he was not aware of any blasting and illegal quarrying in the hillocks of Masaipet, and said he would seek a report from the village revenue officer.
However, the blasting of the rocks on the hillocks has been giving sleepless nights to nearby villagers. Several houses have been damaged and cracks have developed in their walls due to the impact of the blasts. The firm has engaged more than a dozen vehicles, including large earth moving machinery, for speedy work. The dust rising due to these works now coats the entire area and is damaging agricultural fields.
"In the recently held Grama Jyothi meeting in Masaipet, our villagers complained against the real estate firm, Madhupala Real Estate Private Limited, for blasting and levelling hillocks called 'Palgon Bolu Guttalu' without permission from the authorities. The police seized the firm's vehicles from the site following our complaint, but the company got its vehicles back and resumed work within days," Y Ramesh, a farmer and resident of Masaipet told TOI.
The locals are also worried that levelling of the hillocks and cutting of the trees can lead to adverse impact on the environment in the area. "Both Yadagirigutta and Rajapet mandals in Nalgonda district record low rainfall. Tree felling and loss of green cover will reduce it further. If this continues, farmers will not be able to grow even fodder for their cattle in the near future. The trees that are being cut were planted as part of our tree plantation drive for many years to improve green cover," K Laxma Reddy, another resident of Masaipet told TOI.
However, the gram panchayat officials rued their helplessness. "The gram panchayat has no information on the activity by real estate developers. On the complaints from some villagers, we proposed action against Madhupala Real Estate for carrying out activity in survey no 726 of the village without permissions from government departments. But some of the ward members were bribed by a representative of the company. We have become helpless in the entire episode," Budige Gautami, sarpanch of Masaipet, told TOI.
While the proprietor of Madhupala Real Estate Pvt Ltd was not available for comment, Srinivas Reddy, former sarpanch of Masaipet and considered to be the local liaison of the company, said he had only brokered for purchase of about 250 acres for the company and was unaware of any other issues.
We proposed action against Madhupala Real Estate for carrying out activity in survey no 726 of the village without permissions from government departments. But some of the ward members were bribed by a representative of the company - Budige Gautami, sarpanch of Masaipet