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Govt apathy hits forest conservation hard

The only forestry college in Gujarat is grappling with a huge manpower shortage.

Lone forestry college in state has one qualified faculty

The only forestry college in Gujarat is grappling with a huge manpower shortage.

According to Navsari Agriculture University officials, there is only one qualified faculty member out of the total six recruited in the last many years. This has hampered the research and development activity related to forest conservation and management at the university.

“Since 1998, the government has recruited only one qualified faculty in the university. People from Agriculture department were trained in forest management for three months,” said a senior professor on condition of anonymity.

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“When so much emphasis has been put on forest conservation, it is an irony that the government is doing nothing to recruit qualified people,” he added.

The government, meanwhile, has claimed it has done a lot for conserving the forest and environment. But when it comes to recruiting teachers in the only forestry college in the state, the government is still in the planning phase.

“We are planning to recruit more faculties. Hopefully, we will do it soon. We are also taking a lot of steps in the area of conservation,” said Mangu Patel, state Forest Minister.

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The attitude of the government towards forest conservation is quite visible from the October-December 2004 figures available with the Forest Survey of India.

In the last two years, Gujarat has lost close to 100 square kilometres of forest area due to human activity.

This is a good 13 per cent of the national loss of 728 sq km of the forest area.

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Almost half of it has been lost in the dense and moderately dense category, according to a report.

Govt conservation efforts
* 502 vanrakshak sahayaks have been recruited by the Forest department, out of which 51 are women
* 180 vanpal sahayaks have been recruited by the Forest department, out of which 44 are women
* Set up Forest Development Agency in 24 districts
* 2,804 Forest Protection Committees set up at the village level
* In south Gujarat, Valsad Forest Circle created in the interest of employment to local tribal people

First published on: 24-12-2008 at 01:22:29 am
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