‘State to approach SC soon over Zudpi Jungle issue’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Oct 2018 13:11:58


Staff Reporter,

Chandrasahekhar Bawankule, Guardian Minister of Nagpur district, said that State Government would soon file an interlocutory application in the Supreme Court to secure release of 86,409 hectares of Zudpi Jungle in Nagpur Division. Of this total land of Zudpi Jungle, as much as 17,399 hectares is in Nagpur district alone.

Bawankule was speaking at a meeting held at Forest Department headquarters here on Friday. U K Agrawal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Forest Force); and G Saiprakash, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, were present in the meeting. As per the statement issued by Bawankule’s office, the Forest Department officers told him that Forest Department’s stand was clear -- the land unsuitable for forest management should be released for deforestation.

Nagpur Division covers six districts namely Nagpur, Wardha, Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur, and Gadchiroli. These districts put together have total 86,409 hectares of land that is referred to as ‘Zudpi Jungle’. Of this, Nagpur district alone has 17,399 hectares of ‘Zudpi Jungle’. Of that, 6,000 hectares of land is in fragments, that is, in stretches admeasuring less than 3 hectares each. Besides, 1,381 hectares is under encroachment and 10,000 hectares is under non-forestry uses.  The ‘Zudpi Jungle’ land in other districts in Nagpur Division is as follows: Wardha -- 11,000 hectares, Gadchiroli -- 7,402 hectares, Gondia-Bhandara -- 35,831 hectares, annd Chandrapur -- 14,606 hectares.

Some time ago, Maharashtra Government accepted the report on Zudpi Jungle issue prepared by a committee headed by Anoop Kumar, the then Divisional Commissioner, and decided to file interlocutory application in the Supreme Court. Revenue and Forest Department of Maharashtra Government authorised Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur, to take necessary steps to file interlocutory application in the Apex Court with regard to diversion of Zudpi Jungle land for non-forest uses.

The committee headed by Anoop Kumar was formed in June by Revenue and Forest Department. Director General (Forests) and Special Secretary had directed the State Revenue and Forest Department to submit a revised draft of simplified procedure for diversion of Zudpi Jungle lands for non-forest usage. The committee submitted its report to Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister, in July. It held the ‘firm view’ that provisions of Forest Conservation Act, 1980, were ‘not applicable’ in respect of Zudpi lands. It recommended to the State Government to formulate a strategy to convince the Centre to agree to treat 86,409 hectares of ‘Zudpi’ lands as revenue lands or consider approaching the Supreme Court by filing an interlocutory application with a prayer that these lands did not attract the provisions of Forest Conservation Act.