Inter-state network of forest depts needed: Minister

Forest Minister C H Vijayashankar chairing a review meeting of the Forest Department, in Mysore on Monday. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests I B Srivastava and others are also seen. DH photoForest Minister C H Vijayashankar disclosed that the Union Ministry for Forests had been urged to set-up a wireless communication network exclusively for improving co-ordination among forest departments of neighbouring states. 

Addressing mediapersons on the sidelines of a review meeting here on Monday, Vijayashankar said that inter-state communication had to be improved in order to mitigate the man-animal conflict and solve recurring issues in border areas.

Pointing out that the new forest policy will be unveiled soon, Vijayashankar said said that a fresh proposal has been sought from various divisions of the forest department to upgrade the weapons in the department.

No to mini-hydel projects

Discussing about the construction of mini-hydel projects in the Western Ghats, he said that permission has been denied in-principle across the State to new projects.

He said that forest officials had been urged to prepare a vision document to describe the targets set by the department for the next three years. The document should comprise the measures to be taken to successfully reach the targets, he added.

Emphasising on the need to preserve natural forests, he said saplings would be planted on non-forest lands, which would later reduce the pressure on forests. Concerning Adivasis, he said that 143 families were rehabilitated in Lakkapatna area of Hunsur Taluk.

Under the Krishi Protsaha Yojane he said the forest department has tied-up with Agricultural University. In case of shortage of saplings, they will be taken from the Agricultural University.

Inauguration

The ‘Devi Vana’ project will be launched by the Chief Minister in another 20-25 days at Chamundi Hills. Tree Park will be developed on the 530 acres forest land at Aloka on the lines of Cubbon Park. Similarly, the 280 acre Lingambudhi Lake will also be developed on the lines of the Karanji Lake, he added.

He said forest officials had been instructed to ensure that ‘Aranya varthe’ reaches all grama panchayats and government departments.

New projects

With World Environment Day just ahead, the Forest Department hopes to create awareness among children by asking them to plant a sapling.

He said that a format will be sent to every child in every school with three questions - Do you want to plant a sapling? Do you have space to plant the sapling? Which type of plant do you want? Based on the reply, a sapling will be given to a child who desires to take care of the plants.

Tree Act to be amended

Farmers can heave a sigh of release as Forest Minister C H Vijayashankar announced that an amendment will be made to the Tree Act allowing farmers to chop trees in their agricultural land.

Commenting about the demands to regularise the employment opportunities of daily wage labourers in the Forest Department, Vijayashankar said that the State Government is trying to provide a one-time relaxation and recruit all the labourers working at present. 

Replying to a query, he said that increased safari prices in Bandipur National Park will be re-examined.

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