Why in news?
- The Centre has granted “in-principle” clearance for uranium exploration in Amrabad Tiger Reserve in Telangana.
About the tiger reserve:
- Amrabad Tiger Reserve is India’s second-largest tiger reserve, (first largest is Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR)).
- It was earlier part of NSTR but, post-bifurcation, the northern part of the reserve is vested with Telangana and renamed as Amrabad Tiger Reserve.
- Together both reserves form India’s largest protected dry forest.
- Amrabad Tiger Reserve lies in the Nallamala hill and is spread over Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda districts of Telangana.
- A Telugu speaking food-gathering tribe called Chenchus dominates Amrabad.
- These are the most under-privileged group in Telangana and are considered the first habitants of mainland India.
More information on Uranium exploration in the reserve:
- The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),had submitted a proposal to carry out survey and drilling of boreholes in four blocks of the reserve.
- The area proposed for mining falls under the Amrabad and Nudigal Reserved Forests of the ‘core area’ of the tiger reserve.
- The area lies along a patch where the Nallavagu and Dindi rivers merge, forming a major tributary and catchment of the Krishna river.
- The drilling of 4,000 deep holes in proposed 20,500 acres, will disfigure the reserve, ruining the wildlife habitat.
- The exploration will expose and pollute surface water, groundwater and leech the minerals and dangerous chemicals into the Nagarjunasagar dam.
- The roads will fragment and degrade the dry forests, which may never recover after such a massive exercise.