Bengaluru: We should create a vision document for its protection for the next 50 years and assure rigorous forest provision for the protection, said CM Basavaraj Bommai in reference to the Western Ghats.
He said that plans should be made to increase the forest cover from the current 23 per cent to 30 per cent in the following five years while speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of the founding of Karnataka State Forest Development Corporation Limited (KFDC).
Bommai said that the Forest Development Corporation’s goals should be changed to put more emphasis on increasing the forest cover rather than on maximising profits. “Eucalyptus does not have to be grown for paper manufacturing. Stop growing eucalyptus and acacia trees, which are bad for the balance of our ecosystem. Alternative species for plantations should be considered as studies on the impact of eucalyptus have found that it is not ideal, to increase forest cover. A balance must be kept since if a forest is degraded, human lives are also affected.
He further said that Rs. 100 Crore has been provided to KFDC to be used for programme implementation and surveys. Another Rs. 100 Crore would be allocated if it is used well, he added.
He stressed that while the government was ready to assist, the Forest Department should also change its style of work. “More forest cover is needed, especially in the Hyderabad-Karnataka regions. More plantations should be created, and growing restrictions should be eased, ensure there is no felling. One way to guarantee the preservation of the forest and soil is through agroforestry,” he said.
CM also instructed the Forest Department officials from the rank of Principal Secretary to District Forest Officers (DFOs) to move out of their offices and stay in forests for 15 days a month. He also wanted the officials to put more effort in the coming five years to increase the state’s 23 per cent forest cover to at least 30 per cent.
“Senior officials are based in Bengaluru. You are not coming out of your offices. Go to the forests, and stay there for 15 days a month. It will boost the morale of other personnel of the department. It will send the message that senior officials are engaged in protecting the forests,” Bommai said.