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The Sancoale Village Panchayat Sarpanch Ramakant Borkar and the villagers of Sancoale raising objections to the state appointted committee for the identification of private forests during a site inspection at Upasnagar Sancoale on Wednesday.

Sancoale VP, villagers oppose private forest demarcation

VASCO: The Sancoale village panchayat and its villagers have strongly opposed the demarcation process of private forests by state appointed committee members in Sancoale village panchayat jurisdiction.

The villagers and members of the village panchayat confronted the state appointed committee members for not following proper procedure while demarcating private forests zones during the course of inspection which was fixed on Wednesday at Upasnagar, Sancoale.

The villagers further threatened to launch an agitation, if the state government failed to dissolve the committee which was appointed for the demarcation purpose, following the Supreme Court order, since none of the committee members have followed the criteria in identifying the private forests.

There was a commotion between Sancoale villagers and the state appointed committee members who had come to Upasnagar and Sancoale area to inspect the private forests on Wednesday.  The committee appointed by the state government for identifying the private forests consists of South Goa Forest Division member secretary Vikas Dessai, retired forest officer Francis Araujo, member Sandip Azrekar and others.

According to villagers, there is a criterion to be followed in identifying private forests which include extent of area should be equal to or more than 5 hectors. The area should have 75 percent of trees which are forest species and the canopy density should not be less than 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the state appointed committee members and retired forest officer Francis Araujo, disclosed that the committee members are following the criteria in identifying private forests as per the government notification published in the gazette.

The member secretary of the South Goa Forest Division Vikas Dessai said that the state appointed committee has fulfilled all necessary process in identifying private forests as per the order issued by the Supreme Court.

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