Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre said that forest encroachment clearance will focus on big-time encroachers who have illegally occupied tens of hectares of forests across Karnataka.
Addressing members of the Federation of Karnataka Farmers in Mysuru, the Minister said that farmers, who have encroached up to 3 acres and were cultivating the land prior to enactment of the Forest Conservation Act, will not be evicted and their cases would be dealt as per provision of the law.
Mr. Khandre said there have been instances of large-scale encroachments for personal gain as against small-time farmers eking a livelihood.
Conservation of wildlife is the responsibility of society, and any decline in forest cover will only escalate human-animal conflict. Hence, forest conservation is the responsibility of local farmers as well, he added
Later speaking to mediapersons, the Minister said human-animal conflict is high in Mysuru. He would discuss the issue with Forest Department officials. Efforts will be made to conceive a permanent solution to arrest the conflict, he added.
Mr. Khandre said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had inaugurated a temple of Sri Ram, and had funded similar works in his native village. This, he said, exposes the lies of the BJP that Mr. Siddaramaiah is against a community. “Had it been the case, the Chief Minister would not have released grants for so many temples,” said Mr. Khandre. “Mr. Siddaramaiah has released grants to many temples across Karnataka. BJP is adept to spreading lies. Sri Ram is in our hearts as well.”
On the demand for additional Deputy Chief Ministers, Mr. Khandre said the discussion is irrelevant and futile at this juncture as any decision in this regard would be taken by the Congress high command.