New Delhi: The Centre has written to the Telangana government, expressing concern that its "inability" to utilise funds approved for compensatory afforestation and forest and wildlife conservation has had a negative impact on the state's flora and fauna. In a letter to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said the Centre approved Rs 1,737.75 crore for compensatory afforestation over the last three years, according to the state government's annual plan of operations.
However, he said, only Rs 1,127.93 crore has been utilised while Rs 609.82 crore remains unused.
This inability to fully utilise the funds provided by the Centre for compensatory afforestation has impacted the habitats of various flora and fauna in the state, the Union minister said.
Reddy said conservation of nature is an inherent part of India's civilisational ethos and culture and forests provide habitats for many types of wildlife, medicinal herbs and livelihood opportunities for tribal communities.
Keeping all this in mind, the Union government has created a comprehensive strategy to increase the forest area lost due to various development programmes across the country and the 'Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA)' has been set up to restore the lost forest area, he said.
The Union minister said the National Tiger Conservation Authority's report on the number of tigers in the country makes it clear that Telangana is one of the few states where the big cat's population has decreased and immediate conservation measures are required.
He said the Union government has released around Rs 30 crore to Telangana over the last few years under various centrally-sponsored schemes for forest conservation, wildlife conservation, and maintenance of parks and zoos. However, reports suggest that the state government has not utilised these funds properly.
Reddy said in the letter that the state government has not even released its share of Rs.2.20 crore under Project Tiger.