Special Correspondent

Two-day meet of Forest Ministers concludes

States’ help sought in eradicating ganja cultivation

Bangalore: The conference of Forest Ministers of Southern States has, in a resolution, drawn the Centre’s attention to the urgent need to enact the Forest Right Act 2006 in its “true spirit” for protecting the interests of tribal people and other traditional communities that are dependent on forests for their livelihood.

The Centre should check against misuse of the Act that can jeopardise the conservation of forest wealth and wildlife, the resolution added.

The two-day meet, hosted by the Government of Karnataka, that concluded here on Friday deliberated on a range of issues pertaining to protection of forests and forest produce, streamlining forest security and addressing the human issues related to forests.

It adopted 20 resolutions, including some of the recommendations made by a two-day conference of Forest Researchers and Scientists of the Southern States in Bangalore on September 18 and 19.

Barring Puducherry Minister of Forests V. Vaithalingam, the Forest Ministers of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Kerala — C. Chennigappa, Satrucharla Viajaya Ramaraju, Fillipe Neri Rodrigues and Binoy Viswam respectively, and top officials participated in the conference.

The major resolutions are concerned with creating a machinery for ensuring inter-State cooperation in eradicating ganja cultivation and other issues such as illegal mining; offering rewards to forest officers for good work and giving more powers to them.