Bengaluru: Forest department recovers 2602 acres of encroached land

Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister Eshwar B Khandre said Rs 100 crore has been allocated to undertake a sapling plantation drive for this financial year.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

BENGALURU: Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister Eshwar B Khandre on Tuesday said the forest department’s revenue collection has increased and so has recovery of encroached land.

Khandre told the media that revenue has increased from Rs 263.41 crore in 2019- 20 to Rs 417.84 crore in 2023- 24. Reserved forest area has increased by 3395.73 hectares in 2023- 24, and protected area has increased by 184.52 hectares. The department has also recovered 2602.30 acres of encroached forest land worth Rs 1500 crore.

Khandre said the highest land recovery has happened in Kolar division, of 1392.41 acres of encroached forest land. Also, 5.50 acres have been cleared in Madikeri and 17 acres in Bengaluru’s Kothanur forest division. Around 7,500 acres of forest land in Kodagu, Chamarajanagar and Mysuru which were leased to industries and estates by the British will be recovered as soon as their lease period ends. He said companies which occupy these lands have earned crores of rupees.

The minister said Rs 100 crore has been allocated to undertake a sapling plantation drive for this financial year. In the last fiscal, 5.40 crore samples were planted across the state and a three-month audit is being done to know how many of them have survived.

On the task of filing up vacant posts in the department, Khandre said there are around 6,000 vacancies and steps are being taken to fill them up. In the first phase, 310 posts of watchers have been filled up and the process of recruiting 540 guards is under way. Directions have also been issued to conduct quick written exams to fill up posts in 10 forest zones.

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