SANGUEM: In a highly deplorable act, the forest department officials have allegedly uprooted and cut down cashew saplings planted by villagers of Valshem ward of Bhati in the forest land, recently.
The aggrieved villagers informed that they have been in possession of the forest land which is coming under the jurisdiction of Netravali Wild Life Sanctuary and accordingly they had planted fresh saplings in the encroached portion of government land.
The aggrieved cultivators informed that they have filed their claim towards the allocation of the encroached portion of land before the Forest Rights Committee and the same is under adjudication.
Villagers say that the forest department should have waited for the disposal of their applications by the Forest Rights Committee before resorting to unwarranted act of uprooting the cashew saplings.
Villagers opine that if the Forest Rights Committee is to decide the application in favour of the Forest Department, the possession of the land would go to the Forest Department and the Forest Department could have enjoyed the benefits of the cashew saplings planted by the villagers.
“We however don’t understand the logic behind uprooting the fully grown saplings,” the villagers complained.
Meanwhile, immediately after learning about the incident, local MLA Prasad Gaonkar who is also the Chairman of Goa Forest Development Corporation rushed to Valshem village to get first hand information and decried the alleged act of the Department Officials.
Efforts to contact the Forest Department Officials proved futile as the officials were out of coverage area.