Karnataka has witnessed large-scale decrease in forest area and encroachment of forest land, according to a report by the Principal Accountant General tabled in the Legislative Assembly today.
In the Chief Controlling Officer-based audit of the Forest Department, it was observed that forest area decreased by 797 square km between 2001 and 2011 as per Forest Survey of India in spite of massive afforestation and the reasons were not analysed, said the report (economic sector) on the Government of Karnataka for the year ended March 2012.
The 67,096 ha of forest land encroached upon had not been evacuated as of March 2012, it said. Large vacancies among frontline staff affected protection and management of forests.
The State government had not finalised its own forest policy, despite passage of six years since recommendation of the National Forest Commission. The disposal of iron ore of 3.79 lakh metric tonnes comprising 56 lots valued at Rs 112.22 crore through auction was pending since January 2006.
The huge balance of Rs 964 crore available in the Karnataka Forest Development Fund were under-utilised. Meanwhile, the report also said that lack of budgetary control resulted in creation of clear liability of Rs 1,509 crore on Government towards pending work bills.