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been established by experience which will secure satisfactory results with reasonable certainty.
The account given of the Ayree plantation is not encouraging ; 25,000 plants are the result of a considerable outlay, of which Rs.7,400 were spent in 1868–9. And yet it is said that this plantation was, from the commencement, in charge of a practical Forester, specially sent for from Scotland for this description of work. The Report of the Gurrakotta plantation is not much more favourable.”
It was considered that no decrease was possible in the establishment of the Department. It had been suggested (by Mr. Jacob) that they should give up departmental working in favour of working by contractors, but the Secretary of State strongly deprecated this move, in view of the experience of
The method of management in force in the unreserved or district forests, under which the forests were farmed out in convenient blocks under annual leases, had proved unsuccessful, as it led to much oppression on the part of the lessees whilst it seemed in no way to further the interests of conservancy, but rather encouraged waste. The proposal had been made to allow the agricultural population to collect the produce they required for their daily use-fuel, grass, bamboos or small timber—in the district forest on payment of an annual rate to be settled with each individual cultivator and thus eliminate the middleman. This system was still under consideration, and the Secretary of State expressed a lively interest in the decision to be come to. It was, it appears, the first time this system of providing for the requirements of the local population had been suggested.
A last point of importance referred to in the GovernorGeneral's review was the question of the advisability of demarcating additional reserves in the vicinity of the lines of railway, “It is evident that the produce of such forests must speedily acquire great value as compared with other tracts situated at a distance from the lines. The Conservator's attention should be specially directed to this question, and a special Report should be submitted, explaining whether in the districts of Nimar, Hoshungabad, or other districts through which the line passes, additional reserves might not with advantage be formed in the vicinity of the railway.”
In conclusion the Government of India expressed their full concurrence with the encomiums expressed by the Chief Commissioner on the great work Major Pearson had accomplished in the provinces, an eulogy which the Secretary of State heartily endorsed.
BERAR The Berar Forests in the Hyderabad Assigned Districts were not under the Government of the Central Provinces at this period. The management of the forests and the first attempt at introducing a proper organisation in 1865-6 was attended with poor results, and the Annual Administration Report submitted, the first to be drawn up, was designated by the Government of India as meagre.” The receipts for the year were mainly derived from seigniorage upon teak and were nearly double the expenditure, being : receipts Rs.21,309,
: expenditure Rs.10,895, surplus Rs.10,414.
Captain Mackenzie had been appointed to the charge of these forests, and the Secretary of State, commenting upon the meagre Report, wrote (No. 68, dated 16th November, 1866)
From the account given by Sir George of this Report it is of course impossible to form any presentable estimate of the capabilities of these forests. I trust that better results may be obtained during the present year from Captain Mackenzie's administration."
Progress in the Berar Forests was slow, the Report for the following year showing but little advance on its predecessor, some changes having had to be made in the establishment owing to the death of Mr. Morrison, the Assistant, and the delay in appointing a Deputy Conservator to the charge of the forests in succession to Captain Mackenzie.
The Forest Report for 1868–9 was written by Strettell, who had been transferred to the charge of the Berar Forests from Sind. Jacob was then Officiating Conservator of Forests, Central Provinces and Berar, and forwarded the Report to Government without comment, as he had had no opportunity of making himself acquainted with the forests concerned.
The position to which conservancy had reached in the Berar Forests is exemplified by the review of the Government of India on these two Reports (No. II, F., dated 7th January, 1870):
“ The financial results of forest administration in the Assigned Districts of Berar, as far as they are exhibited in the statements of ‘Actuals 'which accompanied the Budgets, have been as follows :
These figures do not agree with those given in the Annual Reports, but as they have the authority of the Deputy Accountant-General they must be accepted as correct.
As regards 1868–9, it would appear from para. 163 of your Administration Report that, in addition to the expenditure of the Forest Department proper, an amount of Rs.51,000 had been expended for the establishment and contingent expenses of district forests, which, if added to the charges of the Department, would convert the surplus of the year into a small deficit. It is not stated whether there has been any revenue from the district forests as a set-off against this outlay, and I am to request that this may be explained.
His Excellency the Governor-General in Council trusts that the selection and demarcation of reserves in all parts of Berar may now be vigorously proceeded with. The only reserve where this work is reported to have commenced is the one selected in the Melghat Hills by Captain Mackenzie in 1867.
In para. 164 of your Administration Report, it is said that the Revenue Survey includes most of the wastes within village areas. His Excellency in Council desires to be informed of the exact practice of the revenue settlement with regard to the disposal of waste lands and forests in the Assigned Districts; it appears essential that the officers of the Forest Department should be consulted by the Revenue Survey and Settlement Officers before any large tracts of waste or forest land are made over to villages or private parties. The forest reserves will not, it is supposed, be included within village areas, but will be separately demarcated, and it appears important to His Excellency in Council that these reserves should be in large blocks of compact shape, and with convenient boundary lines.
The large amount of irrecoverable balances due on account of forest revenue from timber, bamboos and grazing dues, Rs.15,600, as reported by Mr. Strettell in para. 13 of his Report, is unsatisfactory. The remarks on this subject by Captain Mackenzie, in para. 26 of his Report for 1867-8, would seem to indicate a faulty system in this respect. The management of the forests in the Assigned Districts has now been entrusted to the officers of the Forest Department, and His Excellency in Council trusts that efficient arrangements will be made to guard against similar losses of revenue in future.
In para. 169 you allude to a visit to Berar by the Inspector-General of Forests in March last. Mr. Brandis has reported that in April, 1869, he submitted to you a Report, with detailed proposals for the management of the Berar Forests, and I am directed to enquire whether any action has been taken regarding the proposals of that Report."
In the above review there is no mention of the remarks which Captain Mackenzie had made on the subject of the continued practice of “dhya ” cultivation in the Berar Forests. The Secretary of State, however, commented on them, saying :
Every effort should be made to get rid of this pernicious custom, which keeps the people from civilisation, and renders proper conservancy impossible.”
It is curious how much more backward Berar was in matters of Forest Conservancy at this date than the Central Provinces. It required a visit from Brandis to set the forest machinery in working order.
THE PROGRESS OF FOREST CONSERVANCY IN THE PUNJAB,
R. J. L. STEWART was appointed the first Conservator of Forests in the Punjab in 1864 and, as will be related later, one of the first pieces of
work he carried out was a careful enquiry into the fuel supplies required for the Punjab Railway. This matter, it will be remembered, had already received some attention from Cleghorn during his investigations into the state of the Punjab Forests, as already detailed in Volume I. Before considering this question of fuel supplies it will be of interest to glance at what was being done in the Himalaya.
From what has been already said in Vol. I, Ch. XXII, et. seq., on the subject of the Punjab Himalayan forests it will have become apparent that there was a serious danger of the supplies of deodar timber becoming restricted, if not of entirely failing, in a not distant future unless drastic steps were taken to stop the excessive and extensive felling to which these forests were being subjected. Cleghorn had pointed out quite clearly that neither the Chamba State Forests nor those of the Bushahr State could stand fellings on the scale that had been taking place during the past decade. On his own initiative the Rajah of Chamba, in 1864, suggested that the Government of India should lease his forests for a period of years, a suitable scale of payment being made to him for the lease. In their Despatch (Rev. For., No. 2, dated 23rd February, 1865) the Governor-General (Sir John Lawrence) in Council were able to inform the Secretary of State that a lease of these forests had been obtained. This lease provided that the sole control of all the forests in the territory of Chamba should be vested in the British Government for a period of 20 years, renewable on the expiry of that term at the pleasure of the British Government for a further period of 20 years, and so on for 99 years. At the expiry of the last period it would be open to the Rajah