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Karnataka forest minister Eshwar Khandre suggests satellite-based tracking system to track encroachments

The official records placed before the Assembly show that more than 2 lakh acres of forest land in Karnataka was under encroachment.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 13:52 IST

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Bengaluru: Expressing concern over the slow progress in removing encroachments, Forest, Ecology and Environment Minister Eshwar B Khandre asked officials to prepare micro-level data on the cases registered and utilise satellite imagery for creating alerts on clearing of trees and encroachments to prevent new ones.

The minister issued directions on Thursday, a day after a four-hour-long meeting held with senior officials of the department at Aranya Bhavan.

Reviewing the progress in recovering forest land from encroachers, the minister told officials to prepare range-wise data on the cases.

The minister was briefed about the Forest Department's effort to track wildfires and encroachment with the help of satellite imagery, following the collaboration with the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC).

As per the officials, the fire alert system has proven to be much more reliable than the alerts issued by the Forest Survey of India. The minister asked officials to explore the possibility of an encroachment-alert system similar to the fire alert system.

"The boundaries of forests have been digitally mapped. Submit a proposal for a system that can provide regular alerts on encroachments and illegal clearing of trees," he said.

The official records placed before the Assembly show that more than 2 lakh acres of forest land in Karnataka was under encroachment. However, the minister noted that the data was updated till 2015. He asked officials to provide latest details on the encroachments that have taken place in recent years.

One-year deadline to clear cases

Khandre set a deadline of one year for clearing all the eviction cases pending before the Assistant Conservator of Forest with regard to eviction of encroachment. Eviction notice is issued under Section 64A of the Karnataka Forest Act.

He asked officials to prepare detailed information on the encroachment at each of the forest ranges (sub divisions). "Range-wise information on encroachment and application for regularisation under the Forest Rights Act should be prepared. With regards to cases pending before the courts, submit objections within time," he directed.

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Published 27 June 2024, 13:52 IST

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