Shivamogga to lose 2.67L acres of forest

Shivamogga may lose 2.67L acres of forest if mutation not done

Western Ghats forest area in Shivamogga district.

The long-pending mutation work (registering the name of valid owner of land in RTC) of the notified area of forest in the district has given the land-grabbers a free run.

According to environmentalists, though 3,61,229.86 hectares of land had been notified as forest area in Shivamogga Circle between 1994 and 2007, 1,08,747.35 hectares of land is yet to be mutated in RTC. They are of the view that the delay in mutation work has become a boon for encroachers. There is a strong possibility that the district may lose around 2.67 lakh acres of forest area if they are not mutated in time. Social forum Jana Sangrama Parishat has urged the officials of the forest department to take initiative in completing the long-pending mutation work.

Jana Sangrama Parishat activist Girish told DH that among the four divisions in Shivamogga circle, Bhadravathi has the highest area of forest cover to be mutated in RTC with 37,202.69 hectares, followed by Sagar 30,495.12 hectares, Shivamogga 28,158.78 hectares and Shivamogga wildlife 12,890.83 hectares.

Karnataka State Biodiversity Board Chairman Ananth Hegde Ashisar said it has to be mutated only in RTC. “The coordination between revenue and forest departments is essential at the state level. This is not a development project and there is no allotment of funds here. So, the officials are not keen to take up the mutation of notified forest area in RTC. The joint survey by the forest and revenue department officials is already done. The notified forest area has to be transferred from revenue to forest in the records and it has to be mentioned in RTC,” he said.

He also admitted that farming activities have been taken up in some parts of notified forest area in the district and disputes over some patches forest areas are pending before the court. The officials have to show interest to prevent confusion whether it belongs to revenue or forest department, he said.

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