In a decision that has sparked a debate, 100 acres of valuable land, previously designated for Agricultural and Horticultural Universities, has been allocated to the Telangana High Court. The allocated land includes at least 35-40 acres of land in the agri-biodiversity zone, which was developed over the years for vital research and educational purposes, in Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU).
Over the years, the agri-biodiversity park in the 130-acre site has witnessed a planting of approximately 1.5 lakh saplings of diverse flora by the students and teachers. Divided into various blocks, the park boasts a rich variety of plant species, including palm, teak, neem, mahua, ficus, amla, toddy, phoenix, mixed fruit trees, and medicinal plants.
This agri-biodiversity haven also serves as a sanctuary for 139 bird species, 143 medicinal plant species, and 348 animal species, including 16 mammals, 139 birds, 42 reptiles, and 151 invertebrates. The park has even played a crucial role in the rediscovery of the globally threatened plant species Ceropegia bulbosa var. lushii, reported here 215 years after its last spotting in urban environments.
However, the decision to allocate this land for the High Court expansion has raised concerns about the potential impact on ongoing research and conservation efforts. With 143 medicinal plant species, including the endangered Ashoka tree, and numerous faunal species, including the Red Sand Boa and Pallid Harrier, the park’s diverse ecosystem faces a potential threat.
Environmentalists and academics argue that the move not only jeopardizes vital research initiatives but also undermines the commitment to sustainable agro-forestry models. The transformation of this land for judicial purposes may inadvertently contribute to the decline of valuable flora and fauna, including species classified as endemic, endangered, and globally threatened.