Annoyed over the harassment by forest department, a delegation comprising of Netravali villagers and village panchayat led by Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar has urged the government to remove the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary from the jurisdiction of the Netravali village panchayat.
The Netravali village panchayat has also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant with a resolution taken by the gram sabha demanding cancellation of Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary from its jurisdiction.
A delegation led by MLA Gaonkar on Wednesday met the Deputy Chief Minister Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar at the Secretariat and put forth the problems faced by the villagers due to restriction in wildlife sanctuary and harassment by forest officials to locals, who have been carrying out their agricultural and other day-to-day traditional activities in the village.
Sanguem MLA Gaonkar told media that the forest officials have been harassing the villagers in the name of protected forest area and not allowing them to carry out their day-to-day activities, which is seriously affecting the livelihood of the people.
“Majority population in Netravali village belongs to the tribal community. However, the forest department is not allowing the people to carry out their daily occupational activities as it comes under the wildlife sanctuary. Today we brought to the notice of the Deputy Chief Minister Kavlekar how the harassment is being meted out by forest officials,” he added.
Gaonkar said that whenever the try to build their houses or carry out traditional occupation, the forest officials have been raising objections to their activity.
He also informed that now the forest department has sought no objection certificate from the Netravali village panchayat to carry out activities under CAMPA fund in the village.
“When people want to repair or re-construct their houses, the forest department is not granting the NOC. Then why the village panchayat should give NOC to the forest department to carry out their activities,” he questioned.
The ruling MLA said that it is a serious issue and the government must hold a special meeting to resolve the issue as early as possible.
In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, the Netravali village panchayat has brought to the notice of the government that 80 per cent of the land in Netravali Wildlife sanctuary, which is in its jurisdiction, belongs to private property of the villages and they cannot enjoy their own property as other do in other places.
Deputy Chief Minister Kavlekar told media that he heard the grievances of the Netravali villagers and instructed the forest officials to resolve the issue in a cordial manner.
“I will also bring these problems faced by the villagers of Netravali to the notice of the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and request him to convey a special meeting to discuss and resolve the issue in the interest of the people,” he added.