Mangaluru

Dakshina Kannada bucks the trend in forest encroachment in Mangalore

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The bulk of the encroachments come in Belthangady, which is on the fringes of the Kudremukh National Park, at 779 hectares and in Sullia, on the leeward slope of the Western Ghats, at 566 hectares.

With better coordination between the Revenue Department and forest guards, the Forest Department claims the district has bucked the trend in encroachment of reserve forest lands.

According to the department, 2,886 people are identified to have “encroached” 1,764.9 hectares of reserve forest land.

The bulk of the encroachments come in Belthangady, which is on the fringes of the Kudremukh National Park, at 779 hectares and in Sullia, also on the leeward slope of the Western Ghats, at 566 hectares.

However, these represent just a fraction of 1.21 lakh hectares coming under the Mangalore Division of the Forest Department.

In perspective, this is lesser than the encroachments seen in smaller forest areas in Bangalore, Gulbarga and Dharwad, according to a recent statement by B. Ramanath Rai, Minister of Forests, Environment and Ecology at Legislative Assembly.

“Nearly 98 per cent of the land records in the revenue department have been updated. This way, there cannot be confusion in granting land that belongs to forest department. Moreover, forest land has been demarcated by survey stones,” said Sanjay Bijjur, Chief Conservator of Forests (Mangalore circle).

However, what is even more heartening for the Forest Department here is the lack of “big encroachers” against whom action is being initiated by the state government.

Mr. Bijjur said just three persons in the district have been identified as having encroached more than ten hectares of land.

Similarly, only 20 people have between 5 and 10 hectares of land; while the majority hold small holdings lesser than an acre, he said.

However, removing encroachers could still be a problem. Officials said more than 3,000 households have already submitted applications under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

“The FRA states that until the application is rejected, the applicant cannot be evicted…Most of the applicants are not from the tribal community,” said a forest official. With the state government ordering that the applications should be heard by the village-level Forest Rights Committee by the end of the year, officials said eviction may begin from January provided no extension is given.



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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 4:11:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/dakshina-kannada-bucks-the-trend-in-forest-encroachment-in-mangalore/article6331051.ece

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