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Forest dept on cloud nine over huge budgetary allocation

Forest dept on cloud nine over huge budgetary allocation
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While Opposition parties come down heavily on Telangana government for presenting an impractical budget, there is one department that seems to be overjoyed with the allocations.

Hyderabad: While Opposition parties come down heavily on Telangana government for presenting an impractical budget, there is one department that seems to be overjoyed with the allocations.

Ironic it seems, but the Telangana Forest Department has been allocated a whopping Rs 400 crore in the State budget where the geographic area under it is nominal. The highest ever allocation and the reduced geographic area to look after have apparently left the forest department officials in high spirits. The Forest officials feel that this is for the first time that such a high sum of allocation was earmarked to the department with less work.

When the department had to look after nearly 23 districts in united State, it had to struggle for funds even to carry out its core mandated duties.

However, now the State has only ten districts and a nearly-good-budgetary allocation would boost not only the confidence in the rank and file of the department, but would also contribute in discharging its duties with much efficiency, without going around for funds or the much needed logistics at field level.

Speaking to The Hans India, the State Principal Conservator of Forests S B L Misra said the State government had given a clear mandate to the department that it wanted to increase the forest cover from the existing a little over 25 per cent to 33 per cent in the next couple of years covering the entire State.

The government's flagship programme ‘Haritha Haram’ targets to plant 230 crore plants in the next three years. Out of this, nearly 130 crore plants would be earmarked for non-forest areas falling under urban and social forestry.

“It needs a multi-dimensional approach to ensure from seeding of plants to protection and management. And for this, the new impetus of higher budgetary allocation shows the government's commitment that would boost the morale of the line staff to deliver,” Misra added. When asked about several bottlenecks reported in the field level, in particularly the human resources crunch, Misra said, “There may be some bottlenecks in the field. But, they could be sorted out effectively as they are common and part of the department's function in the forest areas.”

For effective fulfilment of the department's mandate, it would also be deploying modern technological tools like Remote Sensing, Geographic Information System (GIS), Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), Management Information System (MIS) and other tools. The department has been using some of the technology for the past many years.

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