Udupi, Aug 09, 2015: Inaugurating the ’Laksha-Vriksha’ campaign on Aug 8, Saturday, Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment Ramanath Rai said that the Forest Department has commenced a programmes to take the system nearer to the people. The minister said measures have been taken to make the department people-friendly. The government has taken initiatives to ensure protection of forests.
Awareness needs to be created on afforestation. The programmes designed by the government include the extension of the protection cover to the elaborate forest land in the State, which has 27 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks.
He added that the introduction of agricultural forest area, where a farmer would receive Rs 45 for sustaining a sapling for three consecutive years would help farmers develop forest areas. Asserting that the ’Chinnara Vanya Darshana’ intends to introduce students of Class nine to various facets of a forest, Rai said the programme would be held the entire day and would introduce students to forest life. The ’Hasiru Shaale’ programme would help the students take up forest programme in their neighbourhood.
He admitted that there is an urgent need for balancing natural resources. Referring to the problems encountered by the government with regard to deemed forests, the minister said that a joint survey is being taken up by the Revenue and Forest departments. The survey is complete, and once the verification too is completed, the survey report will be submitted to the Cabinet for its approval. Subsequently, an affidavit will be filed before the Supreme Court. The measures have been taken following the SC order for a detailed explanation on the deemed forest cover.
Minister Rai said that nearly one lakh acres of deemed forest area in the erstwhile Dakshina Kannada district would be exempted from the category and would be made available for public use. He said also t that the government had submitted to the Central government on April 24, 2015 the report supporting the changes in the proposed Kasturirangan report. Karnataka is the second of the six states that have submitted the report. The area covering natural landscape - which includes reserve forest area and national parks - is taken into consideration, while land that supports human habitation has been exempted from the ecologically sensitive areas from the report sent by the State government.