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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Rejecting report on private forest lands provide relief to many Goans





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Margao: Deputy chief minister Vijai Sardesai’s move to reject the report of review committee on private forest lands has come as a wise decision providing relief to several Goans.

Sources stated that the report of the review committee, which was based on Sawant-Karapurkar findings, was rejected by Sardesai, before it could actually be submitted before National Green Tribunal.

The submitting of report would have sealed the fate of private forest lands in the State resulting into injustice to several people who were not consulted before their possessions being marked into the protected category.

A senior official who was privy to the discussion on the issue between forest department officials and Sardesai told www.goanewshub.com “the minister was categorical that no injustice should be done to Goans.”

He also drew parallel between Coastal Zone Management Plan, which has been facing opposition due to its unrealistic character and the review committee’s plan on Private Forest land.

“The minister was clear that he himself is new to the forest portfolio,  chief minister is hardly three months old and conservator of forest is also new in chair. In such circumstances, vetting of the report by all the three authorities was not justified,” he said.

The Deputy Chief minister pointed out that during the formation of Sawant-Karapurkar committee report and subsequent exercises, public consultation was not held.

Sources stated that Sardesai who went through the report of Review Committee also observed glaring lacunas in the methodologies adopted by them to achieve the Terms of Reference with respect to the Sawant and Karapurkar Committees.

Talking to reporters in Margao on Saturday, Sardesai had objected to the fixation of a five per cent sampling intensity for field verification and that it is incorrect to be assumptive with regard to demarcation of land as forest.

He had said that the public consultation should have been done before finalizing the report. Sardesai said that many a times, a land owner was not even consulted or informed before his assets are marked as private forest depending on ocular survey.

The minister had said that it is unjust to have not given the land owners a public hearing or an explanation of whether and how their land fulfils the required criteria before having demarcated the land as private forest.

Sardesai had said that stratified random sampling method adopted for the survey was not acceptable as the actual position should be known before marking the forest.

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