Forest Dept to fund upkeep of ‘kavus’

via www.expressbuzz.com published on June 29, 2009

The Forest Department is planning to ink a memorandum of understanding  with those who possess and maintain ‘kavu’ (sacred grove) in the state. To begin with, MoUs will be signed with owners of two such kavus in each district for whose maintenance Central aid will be given.

The department will sign the MoU with the kavu owners before  handing over the financial aid for careful preservation of the area, said S Janardanan, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Bio-Diversity Cell). “The idea is to protect the rich bio-diversity of the state. Protection of the kavus from encroachment,

illegal bio-mass harvest, alienation and unscientific developmental programmes, is what we aim at,” he said. The department has already invited  applications from private parties, trusts and others who possess the sacred woodlets, for funding.

District-level officers will prepare a list of five such kavus after considering the extent of the grove,number of species present in the region and the presence of water resources.

The owners of the shortlisted kavus will be asked to get ready with a micro-plan for the protection and development of the biodiverse patch of land under their control. Technical assistance for preparing the micro-plan will be given by the department. Janardanan told ‘Express’ that an expert panel has been  formed to verify the micro-plans and do the final selection of the aid recipients.

The funds will be allocated for  rejuvenation/protection of wells and ponds in the kavu, said Deputy Conservator (Social Forestry) K Ummar. Planting of trees in the vacant spaces of the kavus,  dentification/  naming of plant species and awareness campaigns on the need to protect such groves will  also be funded under the project. The Centre has already approved the project proposal submitted by the state and agreed to sanction Rs 40 lakh for protection of the kavus.

The money will be distributed to the kavu owner in instalments. The  amount will be distributed according

to the size of the kavu and the micro-plan’s provisions. The department will try to get  more Central aid for next year and extend the project to more kavus,  said officials. They clarified there would be no change in ownership or the nature of the kavus.

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