BANGALORE: The increase in man-animal conflict, displacement of farmers and joint survey of land by both Forest and Revenue Department officials dominated the debate on demands of grants to the Forest Department.
BJP MLA Jeevaraj said Forest Minister Ramanath Rai, who appears to be keen to protect forests and wildlife, should also respond to the problems faced by people as well.
He claimed that the government declared seven tiger reserves without seeking the opinion or inviting suggestions/objections from the public. “One of the Deputy Commissioners had declared 67,000 hectares as forests without following any of the guidelines,” he said.
Appealing to the government to put an end to harassment faced by people, he said a joint survey of land must be conducted and people who have been staying in forests for years should not be deprived of their land.
Speaker Kagodu Thimappa said the forest officers should be forced to live in the forest with tigers.
Chikkamadu (JD-S ) said the forest officials have not honoured the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006. He claimed that tribals are deprived of basic amenities. Chikkamadu said the rise in the number of elephants has forced the Forest Department to increase the forest land. However, the department has not taken steps to develop water and food sources for the elephants because of which they are straying into the nearby farms. The MLA urged the government to offer compensation to farmers whose crops were destroyed by wild boars. “The government should either allow farmers to capture wild boars or offer compensation,” he said.
Congress MLA S Ramesh Kumar said the Forest Department should increase the number of forest guards across the state.
Flaying the Forest Department officials for planting Acacia and Eucalyptus saplings along the highways, he said sparrows are on the verge of extinction as these trees do not produce fruits which they eat.
‘Ready to Lead the Fight’
Thimmappa said the confusion over Gomala land, deemed forests and land rights will be ended taking the government into confidence. “I know how to get the job done if the government fails to find a solution to solve the problems faced by people,” he said.