13 lakh hectares in Karnataka wasteland, says Centre

Bellary tops list of maximum wasteland followed by Belgaum

13 lakh hectares in Karnataka wasteland, says Centre

Karnataka has 13.03 lakh hectares of wasteland, which can be used for industrial purposes.

According to a wasteland map published by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, of the 191.79-lakh hectare geographical area of Karnataka, 13.03 lakh hectare or 6.8 per cent of the area was identified as wasteland.

On a national scale, of the 3166.41-lakh hectare geographical area, 467 lakh hectare (15 per cent) was identified as wasteland.

In Karnataka, Bellary district has the maximum wasteland (1.33 lakh hectare), followed by Belgaum (1.10 lakh hectare) Gulbarga (99,400 hectare) and Chitradurga (93,500 hectare).

Bangalore Urban district has the least (9,000 hectare), followed by Kodagu (11,000 hectare) and Mysore (11, 500 hectare).

Wasteland in Karnataka reduced by 1.43 lakh hectare between 2005-06 and 2008-09. In 2005-06, Karnataka had 14.43 lakh hectare of wasteland while in 2008-09, it came down to 13.03 lakh hectare.

“The reduction in wasteland is because of an increase in cropland and forest plantation in scrub and rocky areas,” said the report.

The ministry, which developed the map in association with Isro, published a “wasteland atlas,” which gives location and area of land that cannot be used for agriculture.

The government classified the wasteland into 23 categories including water-logged and marshy land, land with scrubs, saline land, sands, degraded land under plantation crops, land affected by salinity, mining wasteland and industrial wasteland.

The Centre published state and district-wise wasteland atlas after several political parties demanded that barren lands be identified for acquisition by industries, instead of agricultural lands.

“This database will provide useful information to various user agencies and allow efficient use and planning for development activities,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told Deccan Herald.

Ramesh said states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have a significant percentage of wasteland, which could be exploited for developmental projects.

Rajasthan tops the chart (84 lakh hectare) with 25 per cent of its geographical area being wasteland, accounting for 18 per cent of the wasteland in the country. Delhi does not have an inch of wasteland.

In a sharp contrast, states like Punjab, Goa, Haryana, West Bengal and Kerala hardly have wasteland. In Haryana, 5 per cent of the land is wasteland, followed by Punjab (2 per cent), West Bengal (2.2 per cent) and Kerala (6.3 per cent).

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