Andhra Pradesh

Andhra to study Kerala, Rajasthan models of forest conservation, says official

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests N. Prateep Kumar addressing the media in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests N. Prateep Kumar addressing the media in Vijayawada on Tuesday.  

‘Smuggling of red sanders will come down if we meet demand officially’

The State Forest Department is going to explore and emulate all the best conservation and wildlife protection practises in the country to maintain its stride in increasing the green cover to 33% as per the National Forest Policy, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Forest Force) N. Prateep Kumar has said. At present, the State has a forest cover of 23%.

Forest stations

In an interaction with the media here on Tuesday, Mr. Prateep said, at present, one beat officer was supposed to protect an area of 24 square km of forest area, and a proposal to reduce the area to 15 square km was under consideration.

“It is tough to protect the forest area, given the current socio-political conditions. The Government of Kerala has experimented by setting up forest stations on the lines of police stations, and I am told it is a success in some areas. A team from A.P. will be sent to Kerala soon to study the model there,” Mr. Prateep said.

“We will also study the afforestation methods in Rajasthan, which managed to grow plants with little rainfall. In contrast, plants withered despite adequate rainfall in A.P. Also, tiger sanctuaries will be studied,” he said. A dip in the number of tigers would impact the food cycle and endanger the existence of Krishna and Guntur districts in the distant future, he observed.

“Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy was apprised of the need to protect wildlife, particularly tigers, in the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve. Later, funds needed to procure vehicles, construct forest head office and clear pending bills was sanctioned,” Mr. Prateep said.

Vacant posts

Mr. Reddy also granted permission to fill 2,253 vacant posts, he said.

Mr. Prateep said there was demand for red sanders in the market and, as a result, smuggling was going on.

“If we can meet the demand through the official channel, smuggling will come down,” Mr. Prateep said, pointing out at the yearly trend of export by the government and the number of smuggling cases. “We have sought permission from the Central government to sell about 1,000 tonnes of the wood every year. We are not after revenue, but are only interested in saving the forests. Unless we meet the demand for red sanders officially, smuggling will go on,” he said.

“So far, we have got permission to sell 8,948 tonnes, and sold most of it,” he added.

Mr. Prateep said no permission was sought to explore uranium in the State.

Mr. Prateep said all the Forest Department offices, starting with his own office, would display boards reading, ‘This office is corruption-free’ soon.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 8:57:53 PM |

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