Finally, the State government has notified a total of 46.11 square kilometers of privately held land as forest more than two decades after the process of demarcating private forests in the State first began.
The notification issued by Nathine S Araujo, Under Secretary (Forests) notifies 41.20 square kilometers identified by the Forest Department and 4.9 square kilometers identified by a 'review committee' as private forests.
Any new survey numbers formed due to partition of any of the above survey number after the date of identification/demarcation of Private Forests in the field shall be deemed to have notified as Private Forest, if the demarcated area comes within that part as per partition plan, the notification further adds.
The notification has come as a sequel to the National Green Tribunal order directing the State government to notify the private forests and also make the necessary changes in the revenue records of the State.
The issue of demarcating private forests in Goa had been playing out since 1996 when the Supreme Court of India had issued the direction. Since then two committees were appointed by the Goa government to conduct the task -- Sawant Committee and Karapurkar Committee.
Following the reports of these two committees, the Forest Department had reviewed these and finalised 41.20 square kilometers as private forest but subsequent litigation had necessitated another 'review committee' (Sharma Committee) which identified an additional 4.91 square kilometers.
The notification also attaches a table of the survey numbers of land notified as private forest.