More than 2 lakh acres of forest encroached in State

More than two lakh acres of forest land in the State has been encroached out of the total forest cover of around 42.19 lakh hectares.

This is according to Minister for Forests Umesh Katti, who responded to an unstarred question posed by MLC M. Narayanaswamy in the Council early this week.

The Minister stated that the area under forest cover in the State is 42,19,163 hectares of which protected forest area is 242,533 hectares and in all 2,04,131.582 acres have been encroached.

The maximum extent of encroachment has taken place in Shivamogga where 81,502.44 acres of forest land is under encroachment followed by Chikkamagaluru with 30,641 acres. In Uttara Kannada 28,344.212 acres of forest land is under encroachment, according to the Minister. The other districts with significant amount of encroachment includes Chamarajanagar (4,505.09 acres), Kolar (6,606.28 acres), Kodagu (7,158.82 acres), Gadag (5,172.28 acres), Dakshina Kannada (4,057.55 acres), Haveri (3,071.17 acres), Bidar (3,274 acres), among others.

So far, the Government has also registered 1,09,627 cases in connection with the encroachment with 50,172 cases having been registered in Shivamogga. In Uttara Kannada, 22,281 cases have been filed and 8,335 cases have been registered in Chikkamagaluru. However, there is no mention of cases that have seen a closure or the extent of encroached forest land reclaimed in the Minister’s reply.

Wildlife activists and environmentalists who shared the details have expressed their anguish over the extent of encroachment and wonder whether the State was serious in protecting the forest cover.

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