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Press briefing of Cabinet Decision taken on 2020-07-01
The necessity of transferring lands considered as 'other State forests' to the District Secretaries/Divisional Secretaries
- The administration of the lands identified as 'other State forests' and not being managed by the Department of Forests or the Department of Wildlife Conservation, but being managed by the Divisional Secretaries has been brought under the purview of the Department of Forests in terms of the provisions of the Circular No.05/2001 dated 2001 08 10 issued by the Secretary to the then Ministry of Wildlife and Environment. Farmers engaged in chena cultivation in the said 'other State forests' have encountered severe hardships since a lengthy procedure has to be followed when using such lands for other purposes in accordance with the provisions of the said Circular which has resulted in an impediment to the use of such lands for economically productive purposes. This matter was taken up for consideration by the Cabinet and it was decided to request the Minister of Environment and Wildlife Resources to look into this matter and submit a suitable mechanism to the Cabinet to transfer the powers for the purpose to the District Secretaries/ Divisional Secretaries enabling to use of the 'other State forests' temporarily for any other purposes while retaining the ownership of the said lands further with the Government, without causing harm to the forest environment and wildlife activities.