More income envisaged for villagers in Sathyamangalam forest
The village forest committees (VFC) have decided to plant more than 50,000 saplings of various tree species in Sathyamangalam forest division in Erode district this year.
The division has 28 village forest committees comprising 4,300 members. Each committee has agreed to plant at least 2000 saplings in different parts of the division. The planting of various species would help improve the production of minor forest produce, besides enhancing the income generation opportunities for the people living in the forests.
The committees collect minor forest produce worth over Rs. 1 crore from 23,000 hectares of forest lands in the division every year. In the last fiscal, the committees earned revenue of Rs. 29.5 lakh (after the payment of wages) through the collection and selling of minor forest produce.
Members of the VFCs expressed their interest to plant saplings of various species at a meeting held in Hasanur near Sathyamangalam on Tuesday. Conservator of Forests (Erode Circle) D. Arun and District Forest Officer (Sathyamangalam) N. Satheesh, appreciating the proposal made by the VFCs, assured that the Forest Department would supply the inputs and extend necessary technical assistance to the committees to raise nurseries.
They also distributed polythene bags to the members of the committees during the meeting, enabling them to raise nurseries.
During the meeting, members expressed interest in reviving the water resources such as ponds inside the forests. They assured that they would inform the forest personnel on the movement of suspicious persons inside the forests and help the department intensify its anti-poaching initiatives.
Meanwhile, members requested the department to train them on value addition of minor forest produce and provide assistance to their children to pursue higher education.
The forest officials assured that they would initiate steps to fulfil their demands.