First the statement that Goa has adequate forests covers , now the relaxation of the High Tide line. What is Mr. Arlekar thinking ?
Minister for environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) Prakash Javdekar on Monday assured the state government to provide concession while demarcating high tide line (HTL) in the state, minister for environment and forest Rajendra Arlekar said.
He said that the MoEFCC will file an affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking relaxation in criteria for identifying private forests in the Goa. Arlekar who met Javdekar in Delhi told TOI that Javdekar is sympathetic to the state government’s demand to give relaxation while demarcating HTL.
National centre for sustainable coastal management (NCSCM), Chennai, has demarcated HTL in Goa and other coastal states, paving the way for preparation of coastal zone management plans (CZMP).
Arlekar said that HTL report would be given to the state government and thereafter it would be kept open for public objection and suggestion. “Based on the objection and suggestion, the state government will prepare a proposal considering the effect on ecology and environment and a proposal would be submitted to the MoEFCC to give concession while demarcating HTL,” he added.
Arlekar also discussed the issue of private forest with the Union minister and MoEFCC officials. Arlekar said that Javdekar in his presence discussed the issue of private forest with MoEFCC officials and decided to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking relaxation in criteria for identifying private forests in the state.
He said that Javdekar will now discuss the private forest issue with legal experts and an affidavit would be filed in the matter.
As per the criteria adopted in identifying a ‘forest’, the area should have 75% of tree composition of forestry species, should be contiguous to the government forest and if in isolation, the minimum area should be five hectares and the canopy density should not be less than 0.4 (40%)
A total of 1,440 sq m, which is about 38% of the geographical area, has been labelled as ‘forest’ area while more than 70 sqkm falls under the coastal regulation zone (CRZ). The total land mass is further reduced by 196.80 sqkm (up to 5.32%) on account of rivers and other water bodies while agricultural land accounts for roughly 40%, said a forest official.