Kerala

Survey to refix forestland begins

Officials checking forest and revenue survey records on Thursday as a part the survey of forestland on the Kozhikode-Kollegal NH-766 under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

Officials checking forest and revenue survey records on Thursday as a part the survey of forestland on the Kozhikode-Kollegal NH-766 under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.  

Work on NH stalled following sanctuary officials’ objection

Providing impetus to the development works of the Kozhikode-Kollegal National Highway-766, which passes through the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, a joint survey of Forest and Revenue departments and NH authorities began on Thursday to refix the boundary of the forestland.

When the NH authorities launched the construction of a culvert as part of the NH widening works a few weeks ago, the sanctuary authorities had objected, saying that the land on the sides of the 11.7-km stretch from Moolankavu to the State border, Moollaholla, was forestland.

Area of contention

The works on the forest stretch are being carried out under the ₹55-crore NH-766 strengthening project, which is being implemented from Kalpetta to Muthanga (41 km). While the PWD officials say that the widening is being carried out in the forest stretch of land as per a resurvey conducted by Revenue Department in 1992, sanctuary authorities say that the sanctuary was set up in 1973 and the boundaries of forestland cannot be changed without the recommendation of the Central Wildlife Board.

The issue sparked public protests against the stance of the Forest Department. Various organisations took out a march to the office of the Wildlife Warden at Sulthan Bathery. An all-party delegation submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister.

A review meeting held at Sulthan Bathery on December 15 decided to refix the boundary of the sanctuary as per the old Revenue and reserve forest sketches of the Kallur, Rampur and Alathur forest reserves in Sulthan Bathery forest range and Edathara and Mavinahalla forest reserves in Muthanga forest range under the sanctuary.

A team of surveyors lead by Sunil Fernandez, Assistant director, forest mini survey, Kozhikode, began the survey on Thursday morning. It would take around ten days to complete the survey using the old revenue records, Mr. Fernandez said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:32:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/survey-to-refix-forestland-begins/article25791893.ece

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