The government has decided to open 27 forest stations in the State, Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Viswom said 12 stations would be opened soon, The Minister said the 613 vacancies of forest guards would be filled soon.

Service rules

The basic qualification of forest guards would be made Plus Two. Their service rules and subordinate service rules would be amended. Mobile phones would be given to the guards, he said.

The total forest cover in the State had been estimated at 10,308.63 sq.km. The increase in 7,000 acres was mainly in the reserve forests. There was no proposal to set up new forest divisions. The Japanese International Cooperation Academy had offered help to set up a forest academy at Arippa.