Forest Department officials asked to stay in forests for 15 days in a month

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday instructed Forest Department officials from the rank of Principal Secretary to District Forest Officers to move out of their offices and stay in forests for 15 days in a month.

The Chief Minister was speaking at a function to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Karnataka State Forest Development Corporation Ltd. headed by Tara Anuradha.

“Senior officials sit rooted in Bengaluru. You are not coming out of your offices. Go to the forests, stay there for 15 days in a month. It will boost the morale of other personnel of the department. It will send the message that the senior officials are engaged in protecting the forests,” Mr. Bommai instructed officials at the event.

No eucalyptus, acacia

Mr. Bommai asked officials to work more vigorously to improve the forest cover in the State from the present 23% to at least 30% over the next five years. He suggested a change in the objectives of the corporation. “There is no need to focus on profitmaking, the focus should be more on extending the forest cover. We need not grow eucalyptus for paper manufacturing. Stop planting eucalyptus and acacia trees which are not conducive to our ecological balance. Think about planting alternative species of plants and trees,” he said.

For the first time in the country, the State Budget this year had an exclusive Ecological Budget segment which seeks to offset the ecological damage and about ₹100 crore had been set aside, he said. The State government is ready to grant an additional ₹100 crore if the allocated money was utilised effectively, Mr. Bommai said.

Sandal trees

A special scheme has been formulated to encourage farmers to cultivate sandal trees. It should enable the farmers to boost their income, Mr. Bommai said, and asked the officials to simplify the regulations for sandal cultivation. He also emphasised the need for greater thrust on agro forestry.

Stressing the importance of preserving the biodiversity in the Western Ghats and increasing the green cover in the State, Mr. Bommai instructed the officials to prepare a vision document on forest development for the next 50 years.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 4:20:22 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/forest-department-officials-asked-to-stay-in-forests-for-15-days-in-a-month/article65564328.ece