Bengaluru, September 10, 2016: The state government’s ambitious project of making Jog Falls in Shivamogga flow perennially may take longer than expected as the department of environment and ecology has set specific conditions before sanctioning the required forest land for the project.
The Cabinet recently approved the proposal to make Jog Falls flow perennially. The project, costing Rs 450 crore, has been given to BRS Ventures, owned by Abu Dhabi-based Mangaluruen businessman B R Shetty. JMA and the tourism department are monitoring the project.
Additional Chief Secretary to Forest, Ecology and Environment Department, T M Vijay Bhaskar, told DH that the department has made it mandatory for all those seeking forest land for non-forest projects like infrastructure or tourism, to compensate land in and around forest areas only.
“The person or company proposing a project will have to buy private land in and around forest areas or in elephant corridors or even coffee estates where the man-animal conflict is high or where land owners want to sell their land. Forest land cannot be exchanged for government or revenue land in non-forest areas,’’ Bhaskar explained.
Both the tourism department and the Jog Management Authority had agreed to provide lands in forest areas in lieu of lands required for the proposed project, the official said.
“Unless they show us the land adjacent to the forest or coffee estates with high man-animal conflict or in an elephant corridor, we will not transfer forest land for the project,’’ he said.
V P Ikkeri, Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner said that according to the project report and the field survey, around two hectares of forest land is needed for the project. Apart from this, land is also needed for creating a ropeway over the Jog Falls to provide an aerial view. A detailed project report has been prepared, he said. The nuances are being chalked out before applying for environmental clearance.