Already chided by the National Green Tribunal which passed a final order declaring 46.11 square kilometres area identified in the Sharma Committee report as private forest, the Goa Government waded into the zone of controversy and has constituted two more inspection teams in addition to 14 already existing to identify private land meeting 'Private Forests' criteria of canopy density.
The teams will carry out site inspection of the properties fulfilling/meeting Private Forests criteria of canopy density and area as per Forest Survey of India (FSI) map in respect of the provisionally identified private forest areas by V T Thomas Committee and F X Araujo Committee.
Further, sub-committee for Sangolda Village will be added in site inspection team No. 4 for North Goa.
These two site inspection teams, as earlier 14 teams, shall work under direct supervision of concerned Territorial Dy. Conservator of Forests and concerned Territorial Range Forest Officer shall act as Member Secretary of respective sub-committee.
The two site inspection teams / additional sub-committee for Bardez, Ponda, Sattari and Bicholim taluka in North Goa has been constituted with ISLR, RFO and respective Talathi as members.
The terms of reference of sub-committee will be to delineate private forest boundary on ground and to survey the area inside the delineated forest boundary.
To carry out site inspection of the properties and collect data on percentage of forestry species by total enumeration. The land owner will be given opportunity to remain present during enumeration.
The issue of identifying 'private forests' has been hanging fire since 1996, and three expert panels had already completed bulk of work before the NGT gave it finality through its order in August.
The order however threatens to deplete value of this land, particularly in coastal talukas of Bardez, Tiswadi and Salcete by several thousand crores of rupees, bringing the government of the day under pressure to revisit the issue and possibly challenge the NGT judgement in a higher judicial forum.