Mangalore, Sep 20, 2014: Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai, Chaired a State-level meeting of the top forest officials, at Jungle Lodges in Pilikula on September 19. A few significant resolutions were passed, including the re-organisation of the department and transfer of the department staff and officials through counselling process.
Interacting with the media after the meeting, Minister Rai said that the meeting has decided to re-organise the department by creating new posts and re-shuffling existing posts. The forest jurisdiction that is allotted to forest guard, deputy range forest officer and range forest officer will be revised and rationalised.
The present situation is a forest guard looks after 1,500 to 2,000 hectares of land, which will be reduced to 1,000 hectares. The forest jurisdiction of DRFO will be reduced from 5,000 hectares to 3,000 hectares and of the RFO’s range will be reduced from 15,000 hectare to 9,000 hectare. Over 5,000 posts will have to be created for the purpose, he said, adding that a committee led by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) has been formed to study the matter and a proposal will be submitted to the government within 15 days. Discipline will be brought into the transfer of employees, by introducing counseling system on the lines of the health and education department, he said.
ICT to survey forests : Following the criticism over the forest department’s delay in the process of transfering government land to other departments for taking up public works, the Minister said that a special unit will be formed to speed up the process. “It has been decided to use ICT - Information and Communication Technology to survey the deemed forest through satellite imagery. Steps will be taken to remove the “non-forest-oriented” land in the deemed forest areas from the classification of forest and free such land for the use of public purpose. A special cell will be set up to improve the rehabilitation of forest dwellers while implementing various environment and wildlife projects.” In an attempt to control human - wild animal conflict, the Minister said that the government will offer 50 per cent subsidy to those farmers who install solar fencing around their land. The government had announced Rs 212 crore for laying unused railway tracks as fencing to prevent wild elephant from entering farm land. Rs 50 crore has been sanctioned this year for the said purpose, he said.
Project Tiger : To query on Project Tiger, the Forest Minister said that the Union government has decided to implement the project. However, the State government is yet to issue a notification. The State government will discuss on the pros and cons of the project before issuing a notification. Project Tiger will be compelling compared to the laws prescribed under National Park. Families will not be forcefully evicted and it is purely voluntary. A decision will be taken in favour of the people, said Additional Chief Secretary Madan Gopal.
Responding to a question on solving monkey menace, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra said that a team will be sent to Shimla to study the system of sterilising monkies. When asked about the implementation of Netravati river diversion project, Ramanath Rai refused to comment.