Thiruvananthapuram, June 22: The Kerala government has sought Rs 400 crore financial aid from the Centre for various activities of the forest department, including infrastructure development and rehabilitation of forest dwellers.
Of the Rs 400 crore demand, Rs 200 crore is for taking steps to ensure protection of people from wild animal attacks and Rs 100 crore each is for infrastructure development and for the rehabilitation of the forest dwellers, an official release said.
State Forest Minister K Raju raised the demand in this regard and submitted a detailed memorandum during a brief meeting with Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar here yesterday.
On the need for more funds, Raju said Kerala has the largest forest cover among the southern states, which comes under the Western Ghats region.
Over 10 per cent in the total funds of the forest department is now being earmarked for the basic infrastructure development, he said. He also requested the Centre to announce a special package for rehabilitation of Scheduled Tribes who reside inside the state forests.
There are over 25,000 families residing inside forest areas across Kerala, the minister said.