A degraded Kothaguda Reserve Forest area will soon transform into a perfect getaway spot right adjacent to the Hi-Tech city here thanks to the Telangana State Forest Development Corporation’s thrust on eco-tourism projects.
The 110-hectare (274 acres) reserve forest area in Ranga Reddy district was reclaimed by Telangana Government from the private developers to save the precious lung space for a city that is increasingly turning into a concrete jungle and handed over to the TSFDC in 2015.
Given the sensitive and fragile eco system of the forest that has to be conserved, the Forest Development Corporation devised plans to make the Botanical Garden an attractive destination that also serves as the urban sink to provide pollution-free environment for people to recharge and enjoy the sylvan surroundings.
Though a stone’s throw away from the Hi-Tech city, the Botanical Garden simply transports one into a different world greeted with greenery, cooler and quiet environs with pleasant chirping of different birds and presence of colourful insects. The sounds the urban dweller rarely hears in the cacophony of noise outside can be recorded here.
“While 105 hectares of forest area is demarcated as conservation zone, the rest of five hectare Botanical Garden will be developed into a centre for aesthetic, environmental education and recreational value, all at one place,” say TSFDC Chairman Banda Narender Reddy and Managing Director Chandan Mitra. For now it will remain open for day-long activities till 6.30 p.m.
The Kothaguda forest area is a representation of Deccan Plateau vegetation of mixed dry deciduous thorny scrub forest covering flora and fauna and home for a large population of Wild boars, peacocks, snakes, rabbits and other aviary species.
Breaking the quiet is the work progressing in various areas earmarked for different gardens - ‘Rasi’ Vanam (Zodiac garden), Nakshatra Vanam (Star Varanm) , Navagraha Vanam, rose garden, herbal/medicinal garden, butterfly park, xerophyte garden and landscaping and plantation.
All development is strictly in tune with green norms and with disabled and senior citizen-friendly measures. A solar power facility will be mounted atop the Interpretation Centre to meet energy requirements.
In three to four months, all the gardens, facilities will be completed with only semi-permanent structures, said Mr. Reddy and Mr. Mitra showing the work in progress to mediapersons here on Wednesday. That should increase the present footfall of 50,000 a month to a lakh soon apart from regular walker members.
The Interpretation Centre will have pictorial and 3D models of various types of forests, wildlife, national parks, sanctuaries etc., audio records of sounds of birds and animals, reading material to help young children, students and general visitors understand the forests and their conservation.
Work is in progress for yoga and meditation centre, cafeteria, ethnic cottages for day time stay, and boating facility in the small pond area. A water storage tank to provide drinking water for the visitors, sewage treatment plant, drip irrigation facility are being added.
In the vicinity, a 40-acre Bird Park is being developed with recently planted 40 species of big plants and a 3-km cycle track is laid for the cycling enthusiasts to be inaugurated on September 9.