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Where did the 2.2 million acres of forest land disappear

Where did the 2.2 million acres of forest land disappear

Where did the 2.2 million acres of forest land disappear

Uncertainty surrounds the actual extent of forest areas in the state. According to the Forest Department’s records, the total forest land across the state covers 6.633 million acres. However, discrepancies arise when comparing these figures with other reports and records.

Forest Department Records: 6.633 Million Acres

The Forest Department’s records state that the total forest land in the state is 6.633 million acres. Of this, the notified forest blocks account for 6.512 million acres. Yet, in the report submitted to the central government, the state’s Forest Department indicated only 4.305 million acres. This disparity raises questions about the remaining 2.2 million acres of forest land.

Geographic Spread: 24% of the State’s Area

The state’s geographical area totals 27,710,412 acres. Under the Forest Act, 6.633 million acres of this area are designated as forest land, constituting approximately 24% of the total area. Recently, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), R.M. Dobriyal, submitted a district-wise forest land report to the Inspector General (IG) of Forests at the central Forest Department, listing a total of 4.305 million acres as forest land. These figures were based on data from the Revenue Department and Telangana’s Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA).

In relation to the T.N. Godavarman case, the Supreme Court directed states and Union Territories to submit details of recognized forest land by March 31, 2024. In compliance, the PCCF sent forest land details, including notified forest blocks and revenue-recorded forest areas, to the central Forest Department.

Another List Under the Forest Act

The PCCF also sent another list of forest land recognized under the Forest Act, detailing land by district. This list includes three types of notified forest blocks under various sections, totaling 6.512 million acres. Additionally, approximately 120,000 acres are categorized as non-notified forest blocks.

Discrepancies Between Departmental Records

Significant discrepancies exist between the records of the Forest Department and the Revenue Department. The difference in the extent of notified forest blocks exceeds 2.2 million acres, and including non-notified areas, the discrepancy amounts to 2.328 million acres. This variance in records has become a pressing issue, necessitating clarity on the location and status of these 2.328 million acres of forest land. Reviewing the statistics of notified forest blocks reveals:

  • Adilabad District: According to Forest Department records, the forest land spans 443,729.42 acres, while Revenue Department records show only 128,525 acres.
  • Kothagudem District: The Forest Department lists 1,008,720.81 acres of forest land, but the Revenue Department recognizes only 952,943 acres.
  • Komaram Bheem Asifabad District: The Forest Department records indicate 492,674.50 acres of forest land, whereas the Revenue Department reports only 409,587 acres.
  • Mulugu District: Forest Department records show 718,940 acres of forest land, while Revenue Department records list only 442,094 acres.

Conclusion: The Need for Clarity and Action

The notable inconsistencies between the Forest and Revenue Department records underscore the need for a thorough review and reconciliation of data. Identifying the exact status and location of the missing 2.2 million acres of forest land is crucial for accurate reporting and effective forest management. Ensuring transparency and consistency in records will help address concerns and support the conservation efforts vital to maintaining the state’s ecological balance.

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