Karnataka: Forest & Revenue depts engage in face off over deemed forest

protected areas Karnataka

Bengaluru: A face-off has erupted between Forest and Revenue departments in Karnataka on the possession of the deemed forest land. Failing to get physical control on about 3.30 lakh hectare forest land, notified in May, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) B K Singh has sought the intervention of Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of the department Jawaid Aktar to get hold of the deemed forest areas.

In a letter to Akhtar, Singh said, “These areas are set aside for conservation and development. However, large tracts of these areas are not in physical custody of the Forest department. The survey numbers where a part of it is declared as deemed forest, a joint survey by the Revenue and Forest department should be conducted and boundary fixed and demarcated on the ground. Survey and demarcation of all other deemed forests, which are not surveyed and demarcated on ground, should be taken up in a phased manner (sic).”

The State Government had on May notified 3,30,186.93 hectare of green land as deemed forest. Currently, the earmarked area is under the possession of the land reforms and revenue department.

The PCCF mentioned that ACS should direct the Revenue department to hand over the notified deemed forests to the jurisdictional Range Forest Officers. A long pending request of the forest department has been that the revenue department should mutate lands in the favour of the forest department.

Also Read: K’natka Govt seeks SC’s nod to denotify 3.30L ha forest land, yet again

“The areas notified as deemed forests should be declared as “Lands assigned for special purposes by the Deputy Commissioners” under Section 71 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act 1964. The Deemed forest lands should be mutated in favour of the Forest department and the entry should be made in column 9 of the RTC (records of rights, tenancy and crops) to that effect. The process of notifying the deemed forest areas as Reserved Forests/Protected Forests under the relevant Sections of Karnataka Forest Act 1963 should be initiated,” the letter read.

The PCCF also stated that the areas demarcated as deemed forest by the government should not be illegally granted by the revenue department for other purposes.

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