Vijayapura: Expressing concern over the low forest cover of the District as against the average requirement prescribed by the norms, Lokayukta B. S. Patil has said that while Vijayapura District has the forest cover of mere 0.17%. The norms said that as per geographical area, the District should have at least 33% green cover.
Addressing mediapersons on Friday June 24 during his visit to the District after taking charge as Lokayukta, he said that the forest cover of the District must be increased significantly by taking up programmes to plant saplings.
“It is a matter of great concern that the District has very minimal forest cover compared to its geographical areas. It is not even one percent against the norms. The forest department will be directed to come up with programmes to increase the forest cover in a time bound manner in the district,” he said.
Admitting that in over the last few years, the irrigation facility has improved and canal network has been laid in the District, he said that the water system should be used to plant more saplings.
The farmers are demanding more saplings after the District improved its irrigation facilities, considering that the forest officials should ensure that the farmers are given more saplings, he said.
He also felt that the Government should augment the supply of saplings in districts such as Vijayapura which is in dire need of more saplings compared to other districts that have good forest cover. “It will surely be a sheer discrimination if District such as Vijayapura which has minimum forest cover gets equal number of saplings compared to the District which have higher forest cover. Vijayapura District should get more saplings every year”, he said.
On the occasion, he directed the officials of various departments to keep disposing of public grievances quickly and asked the Lokayukta sleuth to hold regular grievances meetings. He said that the administration works could be made active if the Lokayukta sleuths held regular meetings and took grievances from the people.
While some of the officials are discharging their duties properly, some are very lazy. Such officials should be made to feel the heat of the law, he said.
He suggested the people to file more grievances in order to help the Lokayukta to take action against the erring officials.