BENGALURU: The state budget dismally fails to address the prevailing problems in protection of wildlife and forests and the severe shortage of staff in the Forest Department at the field level. There is no announcement of strategies or measures to tackle encroachment of forest land, especially the buffer zones which has led to increasing man-animal conflicts.
The Chief Minister has also not announced adequate allocation of funds for relocation of people from tiger reserves and national parks as many families who have agreed to voluntarily relocate, have been waiting for years now. There is an increase of 280 sq km in forest cover in Karnataka as per the India Forest Survey report-2015, the CM claims. However, he has failed to come out with solutions for the reduction in green cover in the Western Ghats-bound districts as well as Bengaluru and Mysuru.
Further, under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, which has come as a bane for protection of wildlife, title deeds have been distributed to more than 13,000 beneficiaries for 42,901 acres. In many forest areas, this has led to conflicts between encroachers and forest officials where people have resorted to burning of forest lands. With the state losing its green cover to infrastructure and development projects, especially in Bengaluru, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, etc., Siddaramaiah said major thrust will be given to tree plantation in the form of development of tree parks, expansion of roadside plantations as well as raising of sandalwood and other seedlings.
To enhance the tree cover across the state, 50 Saalumarada Thimmakka Tree Parks will be established this year. This will be taken up in every Assembly constituency at a later stage.
Apart from this, six crore tall and quality seedlings will be raised, the budget outlines.