'Coffee plantation in Kodagu can not be considered as deemed forest'

Kodagu Circle Chief Conservator of Forest Jagmohan Varma has clarified that coffee plantation in Kodagu can not be considered as deemed forest. This is based on the government’s order that plantation in private property should not be considered as deemed forest.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, the officer said that the process of identifying deemed forest is under progress in the district, in the backdrop of the Supreme Court and State government’s order.

It is a common notion that a land with features of forest is deemed forest. But, as per the government order dated May 15, 2014, private plantation with any number of forest will not be considered as deemed forest. Therefore, there is no reason for coffee, cardamom, pepper and rubber planters to worry about, he assured.

Private forest

Explaining the word ‘private forest’ as defined in the government order, the Chief Conservator of Forest said that private forest is the land comprising of more than 50 trees per hectare land and each tree with a width of more than 30 cm. “The forest department along with revenue department is collecting details about private forests in the district. A district-level meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari too has been convened. Village level inspection will be carried out soon,” he said.

Further, Jagmohan Varma said that the State government’s order describes a wide range of forests that exist in Kodagu, including Forest-Paisari which is considered as forest land.

According to Coorg Land and Revenue Regulation 1899, Section 143, Sub Section (1) (F), Forest-Paisari land has been notified as forest in 1901. Therefore, the recent order too considers Forest-Paisari as forest land.

The land that is mentioned as forest in government documents, will be considered as deemed forest. The government has given the instruction to all district administration to submit a detailed report on deemed forest in every district, within May 15.

What is deemed forest?

Deemed forest is the private and paisari land with forest like features. The Supreme Court while hearing Godavarman Thirumalapad case in 1995, had directed all the States to collect information about deemed forest. Following the order, the State government polled information about forest land and deemed forest.

However, the survey was not concrete, as the deemed forest list also comprised of paisari and empty (khulla) land and details like survey number and map too was not appropriate.

Therefore, re-survey has been taken up to prepare a comprehensive report on deemed forest in the State.
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