'Compensatory afforestation a failure'

'Compensatory afforestation a failure'

The former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests was speaking after the release of his book, 'Destroy Forests Destroy Life'. He said the fragmented forest patches will be able to restore the environment in bio-diverse regions like Agumbe in the Western Ghats.

The compensatory afforestation rule under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, has failed to protect the rich evergreen forests which are cut down for patchwork plantation, retired forest officer B K Singh said on Thursday.

The former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests was speaking after the release of his book, 'Destroy Forests Destroy Life'. He said the fragmented forest patches will be able to restore the environment in bio-diverse regions like Agumbe in the Western Ghats.

"How can planting trees in other places compensate for the damage caused to an evergreen environment? We need a re-look into the rules and change them to suit the reality," he said.

According to B K Singh, forest officials have failed to implement rules. "Most of the offences concerning forests are not chargesheeted in time, which has led to very low conviction rates, allowing criminals to roam free," he added.

Singh's book looks into all these aspects besides recollections from a career spanning over 30 years. One of the 12 chapters have been dedicated to the story of the troubles the forest officials went through in their efforts to capture the notorious forest bandit, Veerappan, and to put an end to the menace he had spawned.

Singh also mentioned that the forest officials were physically unfit for tasks like the capture of Veerappan.

"Officials had to risk their lives everyday. Besides fitness, they were not aware of the strategies employed by such criminals," Singh warned.