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Karnataka forest dept recovered 2,600 acres worth Rs 1,500 crore in one year, says Eshwar Khandre

The minister said the revenue of the department has gone up from Rs 263.41 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 417.84 crore in 2023-24.
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 13:00 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 13:00 IST

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Bengaluru: The Forest Department has recovered 2,602 acres from encroachers while the efficiency in management of the resources has helped in increasing the revenue, Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment Eshwar B Khandre said.

Replying to a question by the media about his works since assuming office a year ago, the minister said steps have been taken to recover the forest land under encroachment and also increase the protected area.

"About 2 lakh acres of forest is under encroachment in Karnataka. We are trying to recover such land while ensuring that poor farmers who have been cultivating less than three acres are not troubled. Those who have encroached more are facing action. We have booked 371 cases in which 2602.30 acre have been recovered. The value of the land is estimated at about Rs 1,500 crore," he said.

The minister said the extent of the reserved forest land notified under section 17 of Karnataka Forest Act has increased by 8,300 acres while protected area (section 33) has increased by 456 acres.
The recovery varies from district to district.

In Kolar, officials vacated encroachers from 1392.41 acre of forest land while it was 5.5 acres in Madikeri. In terms of value, the recovery of the 17 acre in Bengaluru north's Kothnur comes on top with the land price estimated at over Rs 500 crore, he said.

Khandre also spoke about the accountability in the department.

"Last year we planted 5.4 crore saplings. I have asked for the audit of the work to understand how many of them have survived. We are granting an additional Rs 100 crore for this year's afforestation programme," he said.

The minister said the revenue of the department has gone up from Rs 263.41 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 417.84 crore in 2023-24.

"The department has not only used its funds efficiently but also ensured an increase in revenue," he said.

In addition, the department has initiated measures to recover Rs 2000 crore pending fee from companies who were given land for lease in Kodagu district. Efforts are to reclaim the land whose lease period has ended, he added.

Filling vacancies

Khandre said the department has about 6000 vacancies and steps were being taken to fill them.

"Procedure to fill 310 posts of forest watchers has been completed in a transparent manner. The appointment letters will be distributed after the election," he said.

He said the process for hiring 500 forest guards was ongoing. Steps will be taken to fill posts of 10 range forest officers (RFO), 143 posts of deputy RFOs. 45 secondary division clerks and 18 first division clerks.

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Published 28 May 2024, 13:00 IST

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