Mangaluru: Can rain forests be developed by making speeches in a hall, wondered environmentalists who participated in the 'Forest For Water Campaign,' organised by the Forest Department at Mangaluru Town Hall on Friday. ‘Neerigagi Aranya Andolana’ (Forest For Water Campaign) was inaugurated by Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai.
The activists questioned the seriousness of the event as the government was chopping lakhs of trees in the name of various projects.
"On one side, the forest department is organizing this programme with speeches being made stressing on the development of forests. On the other hand, lakhs of trees are being cut and rain forests being destroyed in the name of developmental projects in the state," National Environment Care Federation state secretary Shashidhar Shetty told Deccan Chronicle.
"Estates, mining, power projects and hunting are continuously harming the forests which are also origin points for water. Why is the forest minister silent?," he questioned.
"About 50,000 trees are being cut for Yettinahole project, 13,000 trees for Subrahmanya-Vittal-Kasargod road, 14,000 trees for Shishila-Byrapura road, 28,000 trees for Upper Bhadra project and about 1.50 lakh trees for Hubbali-Ankola rail route. Above all atleast 2.49 crore trees would be chopped on the basis of the government's proposal to drop 4.9 lakh hectares from the deemed forest purview. When crores of trees are chopped, what is the meaning in holding a programme in Town Hall? Will such speeches create rain forest?" he asked.
"For the 33 square hectares forest in the state, there are only 4,250 forest guards and watchers. They do not have equipment to handle a forest fire,” he added....