702. Rights over waste claimed by Indian rulers. The large rights which the Indian rulers who preceded our own claimed in waste lands have been noticed in the 185th paragraph of the Settlement Manual . Even where the Raja did not claim an exclusive tittle in the soil he often asserted his ownership of certain “royal” trees. Such as the teak in southern India and the deodar in the Himalaya. The first attempt at forest administration in India was made in 1806 in connection with the supply of timber of the King’s Navy. (See Pages 64-66 of Ribbentrop’s “ Forestry in British India” An interesting account of the rise of forest administration in India will be found in that work pages 61-76.) It is needless to observe that the close connection between successful agriculture and a reasonable system of forest conservancy was not in those early days recognized. The object of section 8 of Regulation VII of 1822, quoted in paragraph 187 of the Settlement Manual , was not to preserve waste lands for the growth of wood and grass, but to ensure their being rapidly brought under the plough . The present chapter will deal with the use to which state lands have been put in maintaining a supply of timber, fuel and pasturage.
703. Classification of State lands . The waste lands in the Punjab over which Government has asserted rights varying from null ownership to a power of control exercised in the interests of the surrounding communities may be roughly divided into:
(a) Mountain forests.
(b) Hill forests
(c) Plain forests
(d) Grazing lands.
704. Mountain forests. The first are timber forests of oak, pine, deodar, and fir, and consist mainly of the parts of the Himalayan Range lying in kulu, Kangra, Rawalpindi and Hazara. ( Large parts of the range are included in Indian States, and in some cases Government manages the forests for the Raja.)
705. Hill forests . The hill forests occupy the lower spurs of the Himalayas below an elevation of 5,000 feet, the Siwaliks in Hoshiarpur and Ambala and the low dry hills of Rawalpindi division and the districts of the North West Frontier Province. The last, when nature is allowed to have its way, are covered with sanatha, khair and garanda scrub, and with a taller but scantier growth of phulahi and wild olive. In the most favoured parts of these hills deciduous threes , such as the dhamman kangar, kachnar (or kular) and various species of figs are found and above 4000 feet there is a scanty growth of the chil or chir pine. The Siwaliks in Hoshiarpur and Ambala enjoy a collar climate and a more abundant rainfall, but owing to the destruction casued by unrestricted and unlimited goat grazing up to the year 1902 in Hosiarpur and to 1915 in Ambala and the Still unlimited cattle grazing in both districts, the low hills have been reduced to a terribly eroded condition resulting in thousands of acres in the plains below being reduced to utter sterility.
706. Plain forests and grazing lands. The plain forests which used to be found in the dry south –western districts have owing to the extension of canal irrigation practically ceased to exist, except in the great sandy tract between the Jhelum and the Indus known as the Thal. The central uplands between the Sutlej and the Jhelum in that part of the province are known as the bar. They were with trifling exceptions recorded as State property at the first regular settlements. Much of the soil of the Bar is eceleent only requiring water to make it of great agricultural value. Left to itself it yields abundant grass in seasons of sufficient rainfall and a good growth of jand jal farash and karil. The poorer parts of the bar though graceless and treeless, are often covered with different varieties of the Sajji plant and afford admirable grazing grounds for camels. Great change have been effected in the bar by the excavation of the great Punjab canals and a vast area of firewood forests has greatly decreased, nearly 20 lakhs of acres having been disforested and brought under cultivation in the colonies in Multan , Montgomery and Lyallpur. To a limited extent their place as full reserves has been taken by irrigated plantations. The Thal is less valuable from every point of view than the bar. Forest growth is scanty but the country is naturally adapted for camel- gazing.
707. Sketch of executive and legislative measures taken for forest conservancy desirable. The extent to which Government asserted title to waste lands in the early days of the administration of the Punjab is briefly explained in paragraphs 188-191 of the Settlement manual. It will be necessary to deal with the matter here rather more fully but before doing so a short sketch of the executive and legislative action taken with a view to forest conservancy down to the passing of the Indian Forest Act (VII of 1878) will not be out of place.
708. Measures taken by the Board of Administration - The curious dislike felt by the early administrators of northern India to State property in the soil (see paragraph 186 of the Settlement Manual.)and their short –sighted indifference to forest conservancy gave way to sounder views in 1849. When Lord Dalhousie in his famous dispatch constituting the Board of Administration (No. 418 dated 31st March 1849, paragraph 60.) ordered excess waste to be formed into Government estates at the demarcation of village boundaries he was thinking of he most practical measure for spreading cultivation and planting a new population in thinly peopled tracts. But two years later he addressed the Board on the necessity of preserving supply of timber and fuel in the Punjab(Government of India letter No. 645, dated 18th February 1851.) Their reply is interesting as embodying the first scheme of forest conservancy in this province.
3rd- The Board are fully alive to the importance of the ends in view and they are glad to have the opportunity afforded them by the Governor – General , of bringing before the Government the question , not only of increasing the growth of timber, but of economizing the existing produce for the future wants of our large cantonments, for the steamers which may hereafter ply , and for the inhabitants or the country generally.
“4th – Although timber of large growth is very scarce, yet large tracts of country , throughout the Punjab are covered with low thick jungle, more or less dense which yields good wood for fuel . This is the case in the center of Doabs, commonly called the Bar and the same kinds of Jungle trees are to be found in different others localities where the ground has fallen out of cultivation , or is altogether unsuited for it owing to its broken and ravine nature. The board have ascertained that near out large cantonments the supply of wood has, in several instances, been nearly exhausted by the demand made for fuel for burning bricks and lime and for the troops and camp-followers; and unless immediate measures are taken , they fear that the future supply, within any reasonable distance, will be impossible . They have ascertained that the jungle wood generally is reproducing and that the wood cut down will be fit in two years to be cut again.
“5th – The large cities and town in the Punjab have hitherto been supplied with wood, cut from the Bars or jungles, convenient to their respective localities. The population of the country is rapidly on the increase and cultivation spreading moreover , the demand for fuel for the large cantonments and public works, now under construction throughout the Punjab , as also for the large masses of troops can toned in the country , is enormous, and the person who supply wood find it more convenient, as well as more profitable, to stub out the roots of the trees near at hand than to go to a greater distance for the standing tree. Hence reproduction is prevented and the supply altogether fails, if the jungle is limited or it is daily removed to a greater distance.
6th – The Board would therefore, propose with the sanction of Government , to select certain tracts of country, if possible uncultivable , covered with low reproducing jungle , as near as may be convenient to the large cities. Cantonments and rivers (they mention rivers in view to the future supply of steamers ) and to place these jungles under proper surveillance, so as to prevent trees being grubbed up by the roots . The wood should be cut about one foot from the ground and no lower. A small tax sufficient only to pay the cost of a watchmen to protect, and if necessary renew the trees might be levied for cutting the wood ; by this plan the Board would hope to economize it and prevent is being totally destroyed , the local agents in each district being charged with the care of it.
7th – The above general remarks refer to wood in the plains ; but the board understand that the range of hills from hazara, which rule down to Rawalpindi and end at the Jhelum , as also the base of the Rawalpindi hills, yield an immense supply of the timber trees.
8th_Mr. Thornton states that all these useful products are being misused and destroyed, most recklessly.
9th_ The Board purpose, after defining the village boundaries, and allowing such reasonable extant of land as may suffice for the wants of the communities being include in each area, to declare the lands beyond these boundaries the property of Government. In thinly peopled tracts it will probably suffice, to prevent waste, that the heads of the villages bind themselves to prevent injury to the trees and in return for this care the people might be allowed to collect for their own consumption , firewood to any extent, provided they confined themselves to dead timber. The District Officers should be empowered to grant a written permission to cut down a given number of trees of a specified size and age, when required by the villagers for agricultural or architectural purposes.
10th – Near towns and containment’s where the country is more densely peopled it will probably be necessary to entertain forest rangers paid from the income derived from these woods; for whose guidance a code of rules can be drawn up.”( No. 60 dated 17th January, 1852 . I the same letter proposals were made for the preservation of shisham trees in islands on the Indus above Attock, for the encouragement of tree –planting by exempting lands under plantations from assessment (paragraph 512 of Settlement Manual) and for the planting of avenues or groves along public roads.)
709. Order of Lord Dalhouse :- These proposal were approved in a letter in which Lord Dalhousie remarked :-
2nd – Certain allotted spaces, calculated according to the ascertained rate at which the wood is reproduced should be set apart near to the great towns and cantonments for the regular supply of fuel in the same manner as grass preserves have already been told off for regular use. The area of the fuel copes should be made ample to secure a constant supply, and the regulations for cutting should from the first be rigidly enforced.
3rd – Immediate measures should be taken for ensuring a supervision and guardianship of the hill timber in the Jehelum division. The want of these precautions elsewhere has produced and is now daily producing probable scarcity at no distant date which the Governor- General regards with some anxiety.
4th – The cost of the small establishment which will be necessary for the protection of the fuel copes and the hill woods, may be defrayed by the exaction of a small payment from the cutters.
7th –From His Lordship’s own observation during last summer and the preceding one, while traversing the districts from chamba to Kunawar, he received the impression that vast supplies of timber exist , and that with proper arrangements much of it may be made available for use in the plains ; whereas no exertions hitherto have enabled the officers to obtain it in sufficient quantities.
8th – The importance of securing by every possible means an additional supply of timber demands a thorough examination of all existing resources.(Government of India letter No. 218. Dated 13th February 1852.)
710. General rules of 1855. In 1855 the Chief Commissioner Sir John Lowerence, drew up a set of rules for the conservancy of forest in hill districts. ( Chief commissioner’s letter No. 196, dated 3rd March 1855, the Rules are given in full on pages 368- 370 of Barkley’s Non- Regulation Law of the Punjab.” The correspondence is printed as an appendix to Forest proceedings No. 7A of July 1883.
their general scope may be judged from the three quoted below:-
(1)In any hill district within British Jurisdiction the Civil authorities have power to mark off any tract plot or ground wheresoever situated which they may consider specially adapted for the growth of timber or fuel.
(2)The tract, plot, or ground so marked off may be declared to be a public preserve denoted by boundary marks , fenced and protected from trespass of all kinds . Within it the said authorities are empowered to prohibit, restrict, or regulate all felling and cutting and to arrange for the development , preservation and growth of the trees , shrubs, or brushwood in such manner as may seem to them expedient.
(3)No person shall be entitled to object to the foregoing rules, whether relating to enclosures or to particular species of tree shrub, of brushwood on the score of proprietary or manorial right providedalways that the Civil authorities do not interfere with the wood or fuel that may be really required by the occupants or owners of the land for agricultural or domestic purposes.
The privilege of felling might be granted with or without payment of fees. (Rules 3 and 5) The firing of forest lands in order to promote the growth of grass might be absolutely forbidden and in case of fires the joint responsibility of the members of adjoining village communities might be enforced. ( Rules 8 and 9). Gazing of cattle might be prohibited or regulated . “provided always that the proper grounds for the grazing of pasturing of such cattle be not interfered with. The penalty for a breach of the rules was a fine not exceeding Rs. 100 , or in default imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.(rule 12).
711. Government of India orders local rules to be drawn up. The Governor – General remarked –
“To any one accustomed only to European rights and regulations the general powers regarding forest trees which are assumed in these rules to be long to the Government would appear to be of an arbitrary character. But His Honor in Council believes that no question will be raised in this country as to the validity of the manorial right thus asserted for the Government in the hill districts, while certainly no person at allacquainted with the local wants of the districts referred to will question the existence of such a public exigency as would call for the assertion of the right.” He therefore accepted the rules “as far as they go.” But they were considered so general and not likely by themselves to do much good and each Commissioner was to be directed to draw up a set of rules. Adapted to the peculiar circumstances of his divisions and to report without delay to you for the final sanction of Government of India the several steps which he has taken. ( Paragraph 7 of Government of India , letter No. 1789 dated 21st May , 1855.)
712. Rawalpindi rules of 1856. In July 1856 the Commissioner of the Jhelum division submitted rules. (No. 123 dated 24th July 1856. See forest proceeding for March 1876. This rules were sanctioned in a letter of the Chief Commissioner No. 1623, dated 4th August 1856. They were cancelled in 1903,(paragraph 749)) for the hilly and mountainous portion of the Rawalpindi district. The first of these rules is the most important. It ran – “In the mountainous and hilly portion of the Rawalpindi district all trees and shrubs of spontaneous growth are hereby declared to be the property of Government. They are available as far as they are really required by the villagers , for domestic or agriculture purposes, but with this exception may not be cut or appropriated by any person without the permission of the Civil authorities. This rule however is to be liberally construed as regards the comfort and convenience of the villagers.” Permits were required for felling trees and cutting brushwood, and fees were charged in both cases. Firing was restricted and regulated. One – eight of the income from frees was to be paid to the village landowners to ensure their co-operation in enforcing the rules to any breach of which penalty of a fine not exceeding Rs. 100 was attached.
713. Hazara and Hoshiarpur rules. In January 1857 the Chief Commissioner sanctioned rules for the management of Hazara forests . Their Chief provisions were –
(1) that no trees, large or small could be cut withoutpermission;
(2) that all except agriculturists should pay fees for the wood they were allowed to cut, half the proceeds being usedto meet the cost of forest conservancy and half paid to the landowners;
(3) thatground should not be cleared of trees with a view to cultivation without leave being first obtained from the Deputy Commissioner;
(4) that firing of grass in the vicinity of forests was forbidden.
These rules were imperfectly enforced, but even so they proved very useful. (paragraph 38 of chapter V of Captain Wace’s Settlement Report of Hazara- see also paragraph 720)
714. Kangra and Hoshiarpur rules. In 1859 Major Lake, the Commissioner of the trans-Sutlej States submitted rules which Mr. Bayley Deputy Commissioner of Kangra had prepared for that district and suggested that they should be adopted with certain modifications. These were sanctioned by Lieutenant- Governor , and permission was given to extend them to the Hoshiarpur district. This done by the Commissioner of Jullundur next year. He remarked – “The right of Government merely extends to the timber. The right of grazing and to the spontaneous products of the forest appertain to the zamindars , subject to the restriction prescribed in the rules.”
At the same time he pointed out that some forests in Hosiarpur were the exclusive property of Government. ( Extracts from the correspondence printed on pages 370-375 of Barkey’s “Non-Regulation Law of the Punjab “see Barkey’s Non Regulation Law of Punjab , Pages 375-378 . They were not sanctioned by the Government of India , or re-issued under section 3 of Act VII of 1865, and they probably never had the force of law.)
The rules forbade the felling the trees without permission of Deputy Commissioner but in the case of inferior kinds of trees required “ bone fide for agricultural purpose, “ the permission of the village headman was to be sufficient. Proprietors of land and hereditary cultivators were entitled to cut whatever timber they required for building or agricultural purpose on paying a fee of four Ann’s while trees unfit for use as timber , but fit for fuel or fodder were to be given free of charge . Persons having an ancient right to graze, gather dry wood, or collect leaves for manure were to be still entitled to these rights . But a third part of each forest might be closed entirely for three years or any less period. Firing was forbidden. Annual licenses were to be taken out by wood –cutters and charcoal burners . One- sixteenths of the receipts was to be paid to the forester and three- sixteenth were to be paid divided between the lambardar, the patwari , and the village community.( See rules 4,5,7,19,20 and 27 for the full text of the rules”
It will be observed that right of user (bartan) were clearly recognized as belonging to the landowners living in the neighborhood of the forests.
715. Taking up of alluvial lands for forests. In 1855 the Chief Commissioner drew “the earnest attention of Commissioner to a scheme proposed by Mr. Edward Thornton for extendingplantations of useful timber tree by appropriating portions of alluvial lands newly thrown up by rivers. (See paragraph 190 of the Settlement Manual. For rights claimed by Government in islands in rivers see paragraph 415 of this book) Such lands are well suited to plantations of shisham trees like that at shahdara nearlahore.
716. Conservator of Forests appointed . In 1864 Dr. J.L. Stewart became the first Conservator of Forests in the Punjab. In 1869 he published a useful book on “Punjab Plants”.
717. Act VII of 1865. The first “Government Forests Act” (VII of 1865), was intended to enable local Governments with the sanction of the governor-general in Council to issue ruleshaving the forceof law like those described above. (Sections 3 to 6 of Act VII of 1865)A local Governmentmight notify an y land covered with trees , brushwood or jangal to be a Government forest but no existing rights of individuals or communities were to be abridged or affected thereby.(Section 2 of Act VIIof 1865). Forest rules for Rawalpindi were issued under this Act in 1873.
718. Section 48 of Act IV of 1872 (The Punjab Laws Act). The PunjabACT, VII of 1865 was supplemented by section 48 of Act IV 1872, which provided that no person shall make the use of pasturage or other natural product of any land being the property of Government except with the consent and subject to rules….prescribed by the local Government.”
By section 50 of the Act such rules required the sanction of the Governor- General in Council but existing rules were to be deemed to have been issued under and in conformity to that section.
719. Defects of Act VII of 1865. Act VII of 1865 was very unsatisfactory to the advocatesof a proper system of forest conservancy. Its main defects were that “it drew no distinction between the forests which required to be closely reserved, even at the cost of more of less interference with private rights , and those which merely needed general control to prevent improvident working . It also provided no procedure for inquiring into and settling the rights which it so vaguely saved and gave no procedure for regulating the exerciseof such rights without appropriating them. It obliged you in short either to take entirely or to let alone entirely.”
720. Hazara forest regulations. Indian legislation , like justice has a limping foot , and the case of Hazara, which came under settlement in 1868, could not wait on its leisurely progress. Accordingly special forest regulations for that district were passed in 1870 and 1873 under the authority of Act 33 Vict. Cap 3 while the General system of forest management in force under the rules of 1855 was maintained, these regulations directed that , due provision having first been made for the ordinary wants of the villagers in whose bounds the forests stood , the more valuable forests should be reserved for the benefit of the public at large. Rather more than one-tenth of the whole waste area of the district which then exceeded 2200 square miles was demarcated as reservedforest , and made over for management to the Forest Department. These State forests are mountain forests of pine and deodar situated in the higher hills. But it wasimpossible with due regard with to the interestsof the landowners to reserveall land yielding timber trees, while at the same time it was essential to prevent waste. The unreserved forest land in the higher ranger and the fuel forests in the lower hills in the westof the district were, therefore treated as “village forests”. (Captain Wace’s Settlement Report of Hazara , pages 134-37). The Hazara district has never been subject to the General Indian Forest Act VII of 1878, and before describing its provisions it will be convenient to finish the history of the Hazara forests. RegulationII of 1873 was replacedby RegulationII of 1879 By the 8th section the Deputy Commissioner was give large powers of setting apart waste lands as “village forests” Within Such forests squatting and the clearing of land for cultivation the removal of soil or dead leaves and the kindling of fires werewholly forbidden . But the deputy Commissioner could give special permission for the firing of land producing only grass.(Section 16) . Feeling of trees , the loping of tress for folder lime issued by the deputy Commissioner from time to time” under the general instructions “ of fires in the case of forests of both classes was enacted. (Section 28 , compare also section 24)illicit firing and illicit cultivation might be followed by suspension of all rights user in the lands brunt or cleared for a period of two years or for such longer time as might be required to restore the lands to there former conditions six (Sections 29-30 of Act VII of 1865.) Special powers were given for the protection of land from erosion and prevention of land slips (section 20-21 of Act VII of 1865) In 1882 Mr. Forest of the Forest Department was interested with the work of Demarcating village forest , locally known as “mahduda”. Theresult was that 147,000 acres were set apart for the purpose but the demarcation was not satisfactory for numerous plots of cultivation were included . A revised demarcation was made at the resettlement of the Distinct , and the area of the village forest had been reduced to 83,782 acres, all uncultivated . At present these forests are managed in accordance with the provisions of regulationVI of1893, which replaced regulation IIof 1879 and of rules issued under it. The rules are contained in Government of India Notification no. 2212-Gdated 22nd Dec. 1903. The breaking up of land without the permission of the Deputy Commissioner is forbidden right holders are entitled to timber free of charge for their own domestic and agriculturalrequirements but notice of intentionto fell must be given . They can also utilize for fuel without restrictions dry wood and brush wood but the sales of trees and of fuel two outsiders required the sanction of the deputy commissioner.
721. Indian forest Act, VII of 1878. The late Mr. Bnaden Powell, a Punjab Civilian, who was Conservator of Forests from 1869 to 1872 and from 1876 to 1879, and who of officiatedas Inspector- General throughout 1873 and part of 1874, helped largely in putting forest legislation in India on its present basis. (Forestry in British India, page 116. He was the author of a book “Forest Law” published in 1893) In 1878 the Indian Forest Act was passed . This Act has been amended from time to tome but finally in 1927 a new Forest Act. XVI of 1927 was passed and now takes the place of original Act . It merely consolidates the various amendments madeand removes certain ambiguities contained in the old Act, but makes no radical changes in the policy laid down in that Act.
This Act permits the local Government to constitute any forest land or waste land which is the property of Government, or over which the Government has proprietary rights , or to the whole or any part of the forest produce to which the Government is entitled a “reserved” or a “protected” forest. (Sections 20 and 29 of Act XVI of 1927).It is sufficient, therefore that the State should own the trees or some of them even though it may have recorded the soil , as was imprudently done in the case of Kangara as belonging to village communities.
722. Reserved forests. Chapter II of the Act deals with “reserved” and Chapter IV with“protected “ forests. Reservations must be proceeded by a forest settlement in which a full inquire is made into all private rights claimed or otherwise discoverable. (Section 6 and 7 of ActXVI of 1927) The instructions at present in force in the Punjab regarding the conduct of forest settlements will be found in appendix II. Whenonce a forest has been notifiedas reserved no further private rights can grow up. (Section 23 of Act XVI of 1927) A reserved forest can only bedisforest with the previoussanction of the governor-general in Council.(Section 27(1) of Act XVI of 1927.)
723. Protected forests - No special forest settlement is required before notifying waste land as “protected forest.” But Government must be satisfiedthat the nature and extent of the rights of Government and of private persons in the land have been Enquirer into and recorded at a survey or settlement or in such other manner as it deems sufficient. An add interim order may be passed to protect the rights of Government pending the preparationof a proper record. By declaring waste to be protected forest:” the future growth of rights is not prevented . When land has been notified as reserved forest many acts regarding it at once become criminal . But a notification of a protected forest to be effective must be followed by action under section 30, which enables Government :-
(a) to declare any trees in a protected forest to be reserved ;
(b) To close portions of the forest from time to time and suspend the exercise of private rights. “ provided that the remainderof the forest be sufficient and in a locality reasonably convenient, for the due exercise of the rights suspend.” ;
(c) To prohibit quarrying lime and charcoal burning, removal of forest produce or clearing of the land for any purpose.
Rules for the management of protected forests may be made, (Section 32 of Act XVI of 1927) and a breach of any rules an the doing of any act forbidden under section 30 are criminal offences . (Section 33 of Act XVI of 1927). Where the choice lies between action under chapter II of chapter IV, the former should ordinarily be preferred. There is no reason why the management of a reserved forest should be one with more rigid and less considerate of the needs of the surrounding . Communities than that of a protected forest. Nothing prevents Government from allowing as privileges to be revoked in case of abuse, the enjoyment of forest produce to which no actual right has been established. (See paragraphs 22-27 of appendix II )
724. Interference in case of privately – owned forests . The Act recognizes that fact that occasions may arise in which it is necessary to interfere with the use, or even to assume the management of privately – owned waste land for the good of the public in general . Reasons for such action are prevention of the spread of ravines., the protection of land from erosion or deposits of sand and boulders, the maintenance of the water –supply in springs or streams and the like.
725. Assertion of State’s title to excess waste. Having sketched the history of the executiveand legislative action for Government as regards forests down to the passing of Act VII of 1878, it may now be well to retrace out steps and to show how the claims of the State to excess waste have been dealt with in different parts of the province, and what use has been made of waste over which Government has asserted any sort of title.
726. Claims as a rule forgone in eastern and sub montane districts. Speaking broadly in the plains and submontane districts east of the Beas and Sutlej Government admitted that the whole of the waste belonged to the adjoining village communities. Little use was made of the provisions of section 8 of Regulating VII of 1822. (See paragraph 187 of the Settlement Manual) This is equally true of the districts of Gurdaspur, Sialkot and Amritsar lying to the west of the Beas . The reason was twofold. In the first place the villages lay much closer together than in the west of the Punjab , and proportion between the cultivated and uncultivated areas were very different. In the second place the districts were for the most part settled before the advents of keeping part of the soil of a country in its natural state were fully understood. Even in Karnal, where Government did take possession of excess waste and in Sirsa ,where much unoccupied land was at its disposal , the sole object of the administrators of the day was to getrid of the land as fast as possible by handing it over to any one who would brining it rapidly under cultivation. (For the leased estate of Karnal see paragraphs 106, 109, 112 of the Karnal – Ambala Settlement report. )
But in 1813 a large tract of village land near Hissar, deserted 30 years before in the terrible chalisa famine, was appropriated as a Government bir. This is time became the Hissar Cattle farm. It was notified as a reserved forest in 1887. (see paragraphs 144-115 of Mr. Anderson’s Settlement Report of Hissar.) Government therefore possesses few fuel or fodder reserves east of the Beas and Sutlej; Even the low hills of Gurgaon and Delhi were included in village boundaries though those of the former might probably have been clothed with valuable forests of dhak.(This useful tree also called the palah or palas has very wide range extending in the Punjab and North –West Frontier Province from Gurgaon to the point where the Indus divides British from Independent territory. IN their natural state all the stiffer loan soils in the Punjab plains, where the rainfall exceeds 20 niches yearly must have been covered with it . It gives way to the jal and jand where the rainfall is less . It is also common in the jangals of the Deccan and is found in Ceylon. The name of the capital of Eastern Bengal is supposed by some to be derived from the dhak tree.)
727. Hoshairpur Siwaliks. The same mistake was made with deplorable results in the case of theHoshairpur Siwaliks. Government owns two chir pine forests in the SolaSingh range (Punjab Government Forest proceeding No. 6 –A of June, 1873.)and two bamboo forests at the north –westcorner of the Siwaliks , and chir trees, whereeverfound have been claimed as the property of the State. But here as in Kangra and the hill tract of Gurdaspur, the firstsettlement officer, Mr. George Barnes, included the land of the forests , with the above mentioned exceptions in village boundaries.
728. Effects of denudation of Siwaliks on cultivated lands in plains. A generation letter the effect of the denudation of the low hills , which inevitably resulted from the policy then adopted on the rich Sirwal tract of Hoshiarpur and Jullundur had become so great that the matterwas forced on the attention of Government. The Deputy Commissioner Mr. Cold stream and the Conservator ofForests, Mr. Baden Powell united inurging the necessity of prompt remedial action , and the Commissioner of Jullundur, Mr. Arthur Brandreth strongly supported them.
729. Mr. Brandreth’s presentation of case. His graphic descriptionof the effects of neglect is worth quoting :-
“The lower Siwalik is a long range of sandy hills which stretch across the whole of the Jullundur Doab, forming the northern boundary of that fertile and productive tract. In the days of the Rajas , when the village common was the property of the Raja or lord of the manor and not made over to the peasantry , these hill slopes were covered with a low stunted brushwood with a few trees here and there. This manor forest growth was not of great value to the Rajas or to their successors, the Sikh Kardars, but it yielded a sort of cover for game, and was consequently generally protected ; and as the towns were not then very wealthy and peasantry had hard enough work to produce the heavy revenue then demanded, there was little demand for fuel , and few persons with leisure to cut it.
“The stunted brushwood had, however once great value. It covered the sandy soil by its roots and by the grass which grew in its shade. The cool air from the shaded hillside arrested the passing clouds and produced a constant and almost regular rainfall , which checked by the leaves of the brushwood and grass , poured down the hillsides at the gentle pace, and brining with it all the soluble products of the decayed leaves and grass, spread is wealth – laden waters over the plains below, which thus became so renowned for their fertility as to be known as the garden of the Punjab.
The hillsides were divided among the villages located on the hills , and the whole brushwood and minor forests declared to be their property village common open to every one.
“With the introduction of English rule, towns increased , wealth and property abounded, and the cessation of the continual demand for forced labour created a class of laborers with abundant leisure and in search of employment . With the increasing wealth arose increased wish for comfort and a large demand for firewood of all sorts consequently soon sprung up, and the unemployed class found the brushwood and low jungle of these hillsides a mine of wealth open apparently to every one. With out large public works and railways the demand increased still more, and the hillsides were consequently in a few years stripped of everything that could by any possibility be used for firewood. Where the distance from the towns was too great the still more destructive charcoal burner appeared on the scene and consumed three times the amount needed to render his firewood portable. It might be supposed that the new proprietors would have taken some steps to protect their quasi-forest, but the sense of proprietorship was new, and they were in doubts how far they were entitled to interfere. Most of the laborers and wood cutters were residents of their own villages and what is every body’s business and consequently none of the former copy-holders now all become joint owners, endeavored to check this waste ; indeed on the contrary they rather encouraged it. Many persons paid them some little sum for the rights of cutting, and the charcoal burners generally paid Rs. 2 or 3 for year’s licensee . They could not be expected to consider the future loss to their children, still less to care for the villages below the hills which were slowly bring ruined.
“Yes , I may almost say ruined the injury is so great and so increasing . As the bare hill sides have replaced the green forests, the heated air of the dry sandy soil drives off the rain clouds to pass on the upper ranges. When , owing to the increasing pressure of the clouds, rain does at last fall. * * the condensation produced by its fall on the heated soil produced * * * a great downward rush on the heavily laden upper air, and the * * * late rain soon descends in torrents. The fall is no longer arrested by leaves and brushwood and grass, and the increasing too rent purrs rapidly down the sandy slopes bearing with it thousands of tons of sand instead of the fertilizing deposits of former days. These vast floods spread themselves over the village below tearing away all the fertile fields which formerly lined the edges of the stream and covering the rest of the country with a deep sandy deposit. For the first few years this sandy deposit was not so very injurious. It was fresh soil and still held a good deal of the decayed roots of the grass and brushwood of the former vegetation. Moreover a thin layer of sand is often a great protection to an Indian: it protects and supports the young and tender plants and enables the soil below to retain its moisture for a long period. But gradually the tale become very different. Constant reports of deteriorated crops and distressed villages and tenants unable to pay their revenue replace d the uniformly prosperous report of former days; traffic and trade was checked by the great development of these vast sandy beds, which in trisected all the main roads ; and further demands for remission began to pur in from villages beyond the action of the flood, but whose field were being buried by the masses of dry A brought from these torrent beds by the windstorms of the hot weather. Nor was the injury confined to the agricultural peasantry only . The increased volume of waters thus suddenly brought down soon carried away the bridges sufficient for former times and compelled a speedy extension of waterways and further expensive bridging both on the Grand Trunk Road and the railways and when even these proved insufficient the waters submerged the country far and wide.
730. Results of delay in taking Action . The picture is highly colored , but it can hardly be said to be exaggerated . Soon after in reporting on the assessment of the Hoshiarpur tahsil Captain J.A.L. Montgomery pointing out that, owing to the destructive action of the chose or sandy torrents issuing from the Siwaliks , cultivation’s had decreased by 12 percent in30 years.(The action of chos is not purely destructive. Far away from the hills after the heavier sand has been dropped , the deposits they spread are often very fertilizing . But wherever the hills from which they run are denuded of vegetation and consist of sandstone rocks loss must far exceed gain..) As we shall see, action was greatly delayed and things went from bad to worse . In 1897 the Financial Commissioner wrote: -
“During the last period of ten to twelve years on account of the action of the chos in Hoshiarpur and Jullundur 16,650 acres of land have been converted into echo beds, or have totally lost their productive power while 23260 acres in addition have been damaged. Government has remitted Rs. 11855 land revenue and has in addition suffered or is about to suffer by reductions in the rent rolls of the two districts an annual loss or Rs. 34719 land revenue while the people have lost at a low estimate over 20 lakhs of rupees in the market value of their lands. (Paragraph 18 Financial Commissioner letter No. 541 dated 1st September 1897,- Forest proceedings No. 14 April 1898.)
731. Land Preservation Chos Act, II of 1900. It is needless to tell the story of the causes which led to a case which was urgent in 1877not being finally dealt with till twenty –three years had elapsed. AT Las in 1900 an Act was passed for the better preservation and protection of the Siwaliks and the lands affected by the chos, (Punjab Act II of 1900) Its 3rd section empowers the local Government to putthe provisions of the Act in force in any local area “situate within or adjacent to the Siwalik mountain range or affected or liable to be affected by the debasementof forests in that range or by the action of chos.”
732. Chief provisions of Act. With respect to any notified area the local Government may regulate, restrict , or prohibit :-
(a) the clearing of land for cultivation not ordinarily under cultivation before the publication of the notification under section 3 :-
(b) stone quarrying and lime burning at places where they had not ordinarily been carried on before such publication :
(c) the cutting of trees of removal of any forest produce other than grass, save for bone fide domestic or agricultural purposes;
(d) the setting on fire of trees or other forest produce;
(e) the pasturing of sheep or floats( Section 4 of Act II 1900)
(a) ,(c) and above all (e) are important . Quarrying and lime burning have never been much practice in the Siwaliks and firing is hardly known. All these acts have been forbidden over a very large area by notifications issued in December 1902.(Notifications Nos. 643 and 644, dated 12th December 1902.)As regards any specified village or part of a village comprised within , the limits of the area notified under section 3 the local Government may regulate, restrict, or prohibit –
(b) Stone quarrying of lime burning anywhere;
(c) The cutting of timber or removal of forest produce including grass even for bonafide domestic or agricultural purposes;
(d) The pasturing of cattle other than sheep and goats. (Section 5 of Punjab Act II of 1900).
Provisions are made for compensating persons whose rights it is necessary to restrict or extinguish.( Sections 7 and 14-15 of Punjab Act II of 1900)
Actions has been taken as regards nine estates , (Punjab Government notifications Nos. 295, dated 6th July 1904 and 626 dated 12th December 1905.)
733. Power to declare that barren lands in beds of chos vests in Government Section 8 of the Act gives powers to Government to take over the whole or any part of the bed of a Cho which is not land under cultivation and yields no produceof any substantial value and such action was taken in the Mohli Cho under the Punjab Government notification no. 384 (Forests) datedAugust2nd 1911, but this action proved unpopular and was not pursued.
Some good was done by the original closures; but efforts to encourage the villagers to plant Kana grass in the torrent beds on a large scale failed for lack of sufficient control in the catchment area above.
It was not , however, until 1934 that marked progress was made. In that year a forest Officer was deputed on special duty to Hoshairpur district as Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner. He was responsible to the Conservator of Forest for the correctness of his technical advice. His Principal duty , however consisted of interesting the local inhabitants in the possibility of reclamation . In 1939, a special soil Conservation Circle was formed in the Forest Department to work in close collaboration with the Revenue Department.
Meanwhile , steady progress was being made . Experiment showed that the closure of the hills to grazing by cattle allowed the more valuable grasses, which before had been mercilessly grazed down , to re-assert themselves and push out the inferior grasses. Where the right to cut grass was sold instead of the sale of grazing rights, it was found that more than ten times as much money could be obtained for the same area. Meanwhile of course , the young trees were rapidly springing up with a promise of large profits later on when they should be ready for cutting. The force of the torrents in these area was reduced and efforts at planting Kana grass in the beds of the chos was successful . Hedges were planted , running out into the torrent beds . When the water passed through these, the checking of the current made the silt drop and the level of the land behind the hedges was rapidly raised.
At the same time it came to be realized that the hills alone were not responsible for the whole of the damage. Chos could be seen forming themselves in cultivated land where the surface was not quite level. The terracing as well as the embanking of land was preached by all the Department of Government concerned and the Cooperative Department in particular rendered great service by encouraging the formation of societies for these purposes.
Reclamation is now popular , and the only obstacles which remain are the divergences of interest between the landlords , the tenants and other residents in the villages the occasional reluctance of an individual to do things which will help his neighbors as well as himself, and the magnitude of the problem.
It must be remembered that efficient reclamation must proceed from the top downwards and on both sides of the bed at the same time. Where opposition makes this difficult, compulsion must be exercised in the interests of the majority, and when persuasion has failed, Government has the right to exercise compulsion and is prepared to do so.
Prospects for the future are now bright . Some villages in Hoshiarpur District, where land has been closed to grazing by cattle have been able to pay the whole of their land revenue from this single source of income. Stall-fed cattle which do not exhaust themselves by wandering about in search of fodder , can produce more milk. The area under the chos is being steadily reduced. Plantations of shisham tress are springing up behind the protecting hedges and after some years, these barren sandy wastes will once more come under cultivation. Although by way of experiment more expensive measures have been tried , in the way of contour trenching and embankment building , practically all these results have been achieved at a comparatively insignificant cost by allowing nature to results have been achieved at a comparatively insignificant cost by allowing nature to re clothe the hills with vegetation, and by encouraging the cultivators to protect their hillsides to terrace there fields and to provide embankments with drains to carry off heavy rain.
Action has been taken in the Mahli Cho, (Punjab Government notification No. 384-Forest , dated 2nd August 1911)
715. Shahpur kandi forests in Gurdaspur . As already noted, Governmentat the first regular settlement claimed no rights in waste lands in the thickly- peopled district of Gurdaspur. An exception, howevermust be made as regard the Shahpur Kandi tract in the north –east corner ofthe district , which is occupied by outlying spurs of the Himalayas . In 1850 this formed part of the Kangra district, and Mr. Barnes, the settlement officer recorded all the waste as village common , but the property in the chir trees he claimedfor Government. (Chir trees were expressly declared to belong to Government. The right holders were entitled to cut other trees for their own use , but not for sale, (see paragraph 3 of a memorandum by the Financial Commissioner, Sir J.B. Lyall , forwarded to Governmentwith his Senior Secretary’s letter No. 443, dated9th April 1883, printed in Forest proceeding of July 1883).Seeing that the soil undoubtedly belonged to the villagers it would have been inconvenient to form reserved forests in Shahpur Kandi (See section 11 of Act XVI of 1927). As Mr. Baden Powell remarked :-
“The main , if not sole object of preserving the forest is to prevents these hot dry hills being denuded and turned into a veritable desert, and to preserve such soil as exists from being washed off the bare slopes ; while the inhabitants of the neighborhood may have a supply of wood, of fuel and of grazing accommodation ; in short, the value of the forest is purely local , and ….. it should be maintained solely for the benefit of the people.”
716. Waste lands declared protected forests. Accordingly the whole of the uncultivated land in Shahpur kandi, with some trifling exceptions . has been declared protected forest by notifications issued under section 28 of Act VII of1878. (Notifications Nos. 3 and 4 of 5th January 1904). Some 8,000 acres of the more valuable forest land have been demarcated. Records have been drawn up declaring the extensive rights of user in the produce of the forestswhich the owners and tenants of cultivated lands in the estates in which they are situated possess, (Forestproceedings, No 29 of January1904) and rules have been issued under section 31 of that Act defining the manner in which these rightsmay be exercised in the case of demarcated and undemarcated forests and undemarcated forests respectively. (Notification No. 115 dated 7th March 1904). Rules have been framed under section 75(c) of Act VII of 1878, for the preservation of chir tree belonging to Government but standing on land owned by private persons , and not included in any protected forest. (Notifications No. 5 dated 15th January 1904.)
717.Mountain forests in Himalyas. Before dealing with the hill and plain forest of the western Punjab the action taken with reference to mountain forests in the Himalayas will be shortlynoticed.
718.Rights of State in uncultivated lands in Kangra. The respective rights of the state and the land –holdersin the uncultivated lands of Kangra proper and Kulu have been described in paragraph 149-155 and 188 of the Settlement Manual. In Lahul the waste belongs to Government except in Jagir estates of the Thakurs , who are descendants of the petty barons of Rajput times. In these the Thakurs own the waste.
719.Early administration of Kangra forests. For a number of years the Kangra forest were managed by the Deputy Commissioner under the rulesquoted in paragraph710 and 714, which were enforced with more or less strictness. Under the rule which enabled one third of any forest to be closed for three years. Or for such periods as the local authorities may determine, (see the 20th of the rules refereed to in paragraph 714.)certain areas were reserved. These were known as trihis. Doubtless the original intention was that the portions closed should be shifted from time to time , butin practice this was never done. In 1872 the management of the forest was handed over to the Forest Department.(Forest Department proceedings No. 3 July 1872. The management of the Kulu Forests was transferred in January 1873, (Forest proceedings, No. 3 of January 1873). Mr. Duff , the forest Officer, proceeded to demarcate as reserves part of the uncultivated land included in 59 estates in the Nurpur and Dehra tahsils. (Forestproceedings No. 7 of February 1875 and No. 6 of July 1875, and notifications Nos. 111 and 112-F, dated 6th March 1879.)The consent of the people was obtained to an assertion by Government of an exclusive title in thesereservesby making certain an cessions to them as regards the rest of the waste included in their boundaries.
720.Demarcation ordered in 1880. Thearea reserved formed a verysmall part of the area which stood in need of protection, and 1880 Government ordered a demarcation on a more extensive scale as a preliminary to a forest settlement under Act VII of 1878 or the introduction of an improved scheme of management under the rules of 1885. The demarcation was to be made jointly by a civil and a forest officer. The civil officer chosen was the late . Mr. A Anderson who afterwards made the forest settlements of Kangra, kulu, Lahul and Shahpur Kandi.(Forest proceedings, No. 3 of May 1880).
721.Decision to make forests “protected forests” . It was decided in 1883 that it was impossible to continue to mange the Kangra forest under the rules of 1855 and 1859, and that procedureunder chapter II of Act VII of 1878 was “unsuitable to a large tract of country, of which the proprietary right in the soil belongs to the zamindars, and Government has only the subsidiary and ancillary right to the trees, and powerof a limited kind to controltheir conservancy.(See paragraph 6 of Punjab Government letter No. 298, dated 20th July, 1883, in Forest proceedings, No. 7 of July, 1883. It only remained therefore to use the provisions of the Act relating to protected forests, and notifications were issued under section 28 of that Act, appointing Mr. A. Anderson to inquire into and record “ the nature and extent of the rights of Governmentand the private persons” in the forest and waste lands. (Notifications Nos. 207 and 208, dated 27th April 1885).
722. Nature of Kangra forest settlement. The questions involved in this very difficult forest settlement were not finally decided till 1897. The arrangements adopted were on the same lines as those followed some years later in Shahpur Kandi. The small area demarcated by Mr. Duff in 1874 and 1875 continued to be reserved forests. As regards the remaining waste in the estates out ofwhich these reserves were carved , rules have been. Issued under section 75(c) of Act VII of 1878 for the preservation of the trees which belongs to Government.(Notification No. 61 of 26th January1897.) The Restof the waste in Kangra has been declared protected forests (Notifications Nos. 57 and 58 of 26thJanuary 1897.) andfor them recordsof rights have been drawn up . Notifications under section 29(a) and (b) of the above Act have declared certain trees in the protectedforest to be “reserved”, and considerableareas, including the former trihais, have been closed againstthe rights of private persons for twenty years. (NotificationsNos. 59 and 60 of 27th January 1897.) Lastly rules have been issued under section 31 to regulate the exercise of the rights admitted by the record – of – rights. (Notification No. 416 of 14th August 1897.)
In 1917 a revised Working Plan was prepared under the orders of local Government as it has been found in practice that it was impossible to apply the principle of the 1897 rules to all the protected forests owning to the fact that they included such land lying very close to villages which could not be closed without great hardship to the people. The protected forests were , therefore , divided into two classes termed “delimited” and “un-delimited”. The former are to be closed piece by piece in rotation and the latter are not be closed at all. This division was carried out independently of the legal distinctions between “demarcated” and “undemarcated. Protected forests and the delimited forests contain parts of each class. The difference between “demarcated “ and undemarcated” protected forests is that cultivation is absolutely prohibited in the former, but may be permitted in the latter. In unclassed forests cultivation may be carried on without permission.
723. Forests of Jagirs of Kangra Rajas. The trees in the forests includedin the jagirs of the jagirdarsRajas of Kangra (exceptLambagron) be long to Government.
724. A Forests in Kulu. In Kulu (Including Kulu proper , Inner and Outer Saraj and Waziri Rupi.) Government as recorded owner of the waste had a freer hand then in Kangra, a fortunate circumstances as some of the finest deodar forests in the Punjab are to be found in that sub-division. A much larger area was therefore reservedunder chapter II of Act VII of1878. But a great deal of the valuable deodar forests lay close to or intermixed with village lands, and in all waste which was easily accessible the owner and their tenants had extensive lights of user. The bulk of the waste in Kulu has therefore been dealtwith in the same way as in Kangra , and declared to be protected.
Forest of one of three kinds :-
(a) first class demarcated forest.
(b) Second class demarcated forest.
(c) Undemarcated forest.( The notifications declaring these three classes of forests protected are Nos. 280,281 and 282 of 1st June 1896. There are ancillary notificationsunder sections 29,31,51 and 75(c) of Act VII of 1878. These will be found in Forest proceedings Nos. 58-62, of July 1896, Nos. 7 of August 1896, and 60. 3 of November 1896. )
To extent of rights of user to be enjoyed and the amount of regulation necessary differ for the different classes.
743-B. Forest in Lahul. Lahul , though it is included in the Kulu sub-division, has not been dealt with in the last paragraph . It is too cold to yield valuable tree in any great number , and were it otherwise , it is too remote for their exploitation. The forest and waste lands are therefore protected solely in the interests of the people, though Government derives a petty income from outside shepherds who drive their sheep and goats into Lahul for pasture. The only trees of any value are the birch , the pencil cedar ,and the blue pine. Seven small forests have been demarcated, and they with the rest of the waste have been declared protected forests. (Notifications Nos. 154 and 155 of 24th March 1897. The ancillary notifications will be found in Forest proceedings Nos. 29-30 and 41 August 1897.)
725. Froests in Simla hills. In the scattered patches of territory, except Kalka and Bharauli, of which the Shimla district is made up , the rights of Government in the waste arethe same as in the Kulu. There are few small reserved forests of deodar and kail (blue pine) but these are burdened with extensive rightsof user. A moderate degree of protection is afforded to trees growing in the village waste , and fresh and cannot be broken up without permission. The best forest sin the Shimla hills are in the Indian State of Bashahr, and these are managed for the Raja by the British Government, as are the forests of some of the smaller States.
727. History of mountain forests in Rawalpindi up to regular settlement. We have seen that the general rules issued in 1855 enabled the civilauthorities in hilly districts to mark off any tract as a public preserve, and within its limits to prohibit various acts harmful to forest growth. The local rules drawn up in 1856 declared all trees and shrubs of spontaneous growthin themountainous and hilly portions of the Rawalpindi district to be theproperty of Government , with the proviso thatthey were to be available as far as they were really required by the villagers for agriculturalor domestic purposes. Provision was made for the issue on paymentof fees of permits for the felling of wood and cutting of brushwood. The firing of grass in a way calculated to harm the forests was forbidden. A fine was attached to breach of these rules. (The full text will be found in forest proceedings , No. 1 of March 1876)At the regular settlement of 1859-63, Major Cracroft explained to the people throughoutthe Rawalpinid district that “all waste lands were the property of Government, and that before closing the settlement such tracts would be demarcated.” Buthe was unable to touch the mountain forests in the Murreeand Kahuta hils
728. Rules of 1873. In 1873 rules were issued under the authority of section 3 of Act VII of 1865 for the mountain forests of Murree and Kahuta and the hill rakhs in the other tahsils.(Forest proceedings, No. 3 of November, 1873).The most important rules so far as the former are concerned, are quoted below :-
“Explanation – Nothing contained in these rules shall in anywise abridge or affect any existing rights of individuals or communities in respect of the lands to which the rules relate.
“SECTION I – Of the Murree and Kahuta forests , known as first class rakhs.
“I – The officer of the Forest Department authorized in that behalf by the Conservator shall select portions of the forest area not exceeding in the aggregate 30% of the whole, and shall demarcate the selected portions by pillars or otherwise as he shall deem necessary.
“The portions so selected and demarcated shall there upon be closed absolutely against all forests rights of privileges, and shall be called “Reserved forests”.
“Provided that , if by the reservation of any tract, any community or individual , though not having any legal right, be in the judgement of the conservator of Forests put to special loss or inconvenience, it shall be competent for the Conservator to make suitable provision for exercise of grazing and for the supply of fuel and timber (for domestic and agricultural purposes only). Either in the reserved tract or in some adjacent tract conveniently situated.
“II – The remaining portions of forest area not being less than 70 percent of the whole ,. Shall be called “Unreserved forests ,” and shall be open to all existing village communities as heretofore, for the exercise free of charge of the following privileges only :-
(a)grazing of cutting grass for their own cattle:
(b)cutting fuel for their own use ;
(c)cutting timber or wood for their own domestic and agricultural purposes.
“III- In unreserved forests , land on which trees stand or a growth of young trees exists shall not be cleared for cultivation or for any other purpose except with the permission in writing , of a forest officer duty authorized to grant the same.
Explanation :- Such permission shall not be requisite for the clearance in order to cultivate land free from trees.
“IV – In unreserved forest no person whatsoever shall be entitled to cut for sale or to seal fuel or timber, or to burn charcoal , lime , or surkhi kilnsm except upon term s of paying the authorized dues to the forest officer on behalf of Government.”
The first rule provided for demarcation . But as a matter of fact no demarcation was actually carried out till the question of forest conservancy had been put on a sounder basis by the passing of Act VII of 1878, and a revised revenue settlement of Rawalpindi had been under taken.
729. State of things existing in 1882. The forest settlement was carried out by Mr. F.A.Robertson, who thus described the state of affairs existing when he began his work in 1882 :-
No restriction whatever had been placed on grazing by the most destructive animals , and timber could be obtained by application to the tahsildar, and grants of trees were made with most extraordinary freedom and censurable carelessness by these officials. The zamindars were not allowed to break up and cultivate forests lands without permission, but besides the fact that such permission but besides the fact that such permission was very easily obtainable the restriction was on which was readily and systematically evaded and plots of cultivation were accordingly met with in the very depths of forests and in most out of the places, and the existence of these plots very materially added to the difficulties of our works.”
730. Forest settlement , 1882-1889. The final result of the settlement carried out in 1882-89 was as follows : One hundred and fifteen square miles comprising, some of thebest forest lands were gazette as reserved forests. By far the larger portion of this area is free of rights except rights of way and water, but in parts of some of the forests rights ofgrazing & c. were admitted. (Notification No. 290 dated 11th August 1888.)By a rule issued under section 14(c) of the Act it was provided that not more than three-fourth of the whole area of any of the reservedforests should be closed to grazing at one time. (Notification No. 257, dated9th May, 1888) This restriction wasmodified in 1916 when the area ofreserved forests which could be closed was reduced to one-quarter.
Fifty –seven square miles were notified as protected forests. They, like the reserved forests, are the property of the State, but they are subject to much more extensive rights of user. All trees of an value were reserved, and quarrying , burning of lime and charcoal, and cultivation were forbidden. (Notification No. 63, dated 17th February, 1887). Rules under section 31 of the Act regulated the lopping of certain trees , and the removing or grass and fallen wood & c., by rights –holders and provided for the grant to them at a nominal rate of permits to cut timber to the extent of their own actual requirements . They are also allowed to graze cattle, except camel, sheep and goats , in the forests over which they have rights. (Notification No. 335 dated 24th September 1889).
In the remainder of the waste area of waste area of Muree and the mountainous part of the Kahuta tahsil Government gave up all claim to the ownership of the soil, but the trees were recorded as its property. Rule for their protection were issued under section 75 of Act VII of 1878.(Revenue (Forest) proceedings, Nos. 32-64 of July 1901, 16-23 of July 1902, 5-9 of February 1903.
Generally speaking , every resident in a village was allowed to cut free of charge, the wood he required for agricultural or domestic purposes from tree growing on the common waste lands of his village but he could not cut for sale. Nor could he fell trees in order to extend cultivation without the licence of the Deputy Commissioner. By subsidiary rules of procedure framed by the Deputy Commissioner a permit was required even for the feeling of trees for agricultral or domestic purpose.
731. Muree and Kahuta forest conservancy rules of 1903. After the publication of the rules 1889 much doubt was felt whether the rules of 1856 referred to in paragraph 712 remainedin force. These rules asserted the ownership of the State in all trees of spontaneous growth in the mountainous and hilly portion of the Rawalpindi district”, and they applied equally to State lands , common village lands, and separate proprietary holdings. But in the revised settlement the title of the Governmentto trees in the separate holdings was not specifically asserted. Never theless the rules of 1889 were treated by the local officers as applicable both to common and to private, i.e. separately owned lands. Difficulties arose as to the legality of this construction . The Punjab Governmentruled that there was no doubt as to the title of governmentin the treesgrowingin private lands and a notification, No. 66 dated 9th February, 1903, was issued under section 75 of the Forest Act, which applied to all lands in the Murree and Kahuta tahsils, except reserved and protected forestsand municipal and cantonment areas.Felling for any domestic agriculturalpurpose was allowed provided a permit was first obtained. The breaking up of land for cultivation in a mannercalculated to injure trees or timber “was prohibited. –unless the Deputy Commissioner granted a permit, but it was added that such permits would be readily granted where the tree are not numerousand the groundin sufficientlylevel to give hopes of good crops beings raised .” The setting of fire to any trees , or without permission of grass of other forest produce “ the combustion of which is likely to cause injury to such trees “was forbidden. The rules of 1856 and 1889 were cancelled. ( Revenue (Forest ) Proceedings Nos. 32-64of July 1902, 5-9 of February 1903.) It was a mistake to make the rules issued in 1903 applicable to all lands in Kahuta, for the State has never claimed ownership in trees in the plain villages of the Rawalpindi district, and one-half of the Kahuta tahsil is in the plains. The only trees of spontaneous growth which it owns in the plain portion of Kahuta are the chir pines found in a few villages. So far therefore as plain villages are concerned the restrictions imposed by the rules relate only chir pines. (Punjab Government letter No. 154, dated 12th March, 1907)
733. Hill forests of Rawalpindi and Attock. Some ten years later the original demarcationin Rawalpindi and Attock was revised under Major Wace’s superintendence, and after the passing of Act VII of1878advantage was takenof its 34th section to gazette as reserved forestsnine of ten hill forests in Rawalpindi and Attock. The enquiry into rights of the large Kalachitta forest was notcomplete enough to allow of this course being followed , and pending a a proper forest settlement, it was made a protected forest. (The notification declaring 9 forests reserved and Kalachitta a protected forest is No. 97-F dated Ist March1879. In the same year the rules of 1856 were cancelled as regards hilly wastein Rawalpindiincludedin village boundaries and revisedrules were issued under the authority contained in the general rules of 1855, (notification No. 457-F.)The settlementwas made by Mr. F.A. Robertson in 1896. Seven forest blocks with an area of84 square miles were declared to be entirely free of private rights , except rights way and water. In sixteen blocks with an area of 64 square miles the ownership by the State is subject to rights of grazing enjoyed by the neighboringvillages on payment of light fees. (For full particulars of the forest settlement see paragraphs 337- 342 and appendix III of Mr. Robertson’s settlement report of Rawalpindi.)Under the authority given by the rules of 1855 restrictions have been placed on the partition of waste and the sale of wood in villages in the foot hills in the north and east of the Rawalpindi tahsil , (Notification No. 79 dated 24th January 1907).
734. Hill forests of Jhelum and Shahpur. In 1879- 1882 the demarcation of the forests in the Salt Range and elsewhere in Jhelum was carried out by Mr. R.G. Thomson, who has left an admirable account of his work in the 8th chapterof his report on the first revised settlementof the district. ( See also appendix X and XIannexed to that report . The notificationsrelating to hill and plain forests declared to be reserved in the Helum, including Talagang tahsilnow in Attock , are quoted on page1089 of Regulations and Acts applicable to the Punjab 5th edition) Owing partly to the neglect of Mr. Thomson’s recommendations, the question of management had to be reopenedat the second revised settlement . The orders passed in 1901 are summarized in the 108th paragraph of Mr. Talbot’s settlement report. (See also Forest proceedings. Nos. 1-8 ofFebruary , 1901) To prevent hardshipthe boundaries of some of the reserved forests were rectified. (Forests proceedings Nos. 5-29 of May 1902, Nos. 7-17 of November 1902 Nos. 12-17 ofDecember1902, Nos. 1-6 of October 1903 and Nos. 1-9 of December1903.) Mr. J.Wilson made a forest settlement of the Salt Range forest in Shahpur in 1894-1896 . Certain areas were transferred to adjoining villages, and records- of -rights were drawn up and recommendations made for the grant or continuation of certain privileges. (See Forest proceedings Nos. 36-66 of December 1897 , Nos. 1-4 of November , 1898 and Nos. 20-34of November , 1899 The notification declaring the forests reserved forests is No. 670 dated 23rd December , 1897 ,and rules regulating the manner in which certain rights are to be exercised have been issued under sections 74(c) and 75 (d) of Act VII1878 (notification No. 444 , dated 31st October, 1899) The basis of Mr. Wilson’s settlement was described by himself to be the policy laid down in the 4th paragraph of Government of India resolution No 22-F , dated 19thOctober , 1894, as to the treatment of “forests , the preservation of which is essentialon climatic or physical grounds.” The objects to be kept in view, “ Mr. Wilson remarked were only two –
“(1) By the reservation of the forest growth to protect the hillsides from destructive drainage so as to distribute the rainfall as gradually as possible on the lands below, which are almost entirely dependent on the drainage of the hills for their productive ; and
“(2) to preserve grass and wood for the supply of neighboring villages.
“These rakhs have been accepted by Government as a trust to be managed for the benefit of the neighboring population, and not in order to bring in a direct pecuniary profit or to supply a distant demand”.(This had been clearly recognized at a comparatively early period, (see paragraphs 15- 16 of the review of report on the regular settlement of the Shahpur district by the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Donald Macleod, dated 27th August 1867)
The same principles governed Mr. Talbot’s proceedings in his forest settlement referred to above .
754 Hill forests in Gujrat. At the first regular settlement of Gujrat the central portion of the Pabbi Range was declared to be a Government forest. Its area is about 39 square miles. It was declared in 1879 to be reserved forest by a notification issued under section 34 of Act VII of 1878. ( Notification No. 109-F dated 6th March 1879.) The forest growth of the Pabbi hills consists of phulahi, with a few kikar, dhak and shisham trees.
755. Plain forests in Punjab . The plain forests or rakhs of the Punjab have almost disappeared, being given up for cultivation in the canal colonies; a few small and widely scattered rakhs remain in the Lahore and Multan districts where their only value is as village grazing grounds. A very small number still exists in the Rawalpindi and Attock districts , every year deteriorating owing to excessive grazing.
These vast area which formerly supplied firewood to places as far north as Abbottabad and Peshawar are now replaced by few irrigated plantations which are insufficient to meet the impending firewood famine.
756. Bar tracts - There was no difficulty in dealing with the “Bars” in the dry south-western zone. The rainfall was so scanty that at annexation we found cultivation almost wholly confined to the river valleys and a narrow strip of land above these valleys in which water was sufficiently near the surface to admit of well cultivation. The Bars consisted to great grazing grounds of the kind described in paragraph 706 roamed over by nomad graziers and camelowners. Here and there a deep well had been sunk to afford water to the cattle and there were a few quasipermanent locations of camelmen known as jhoks and of graziers known as rahnas. At the regular settlements Government claimed to the ownership of this no man’s land and asserted its title by levying fees for grazing.
757. The Thal. As a grazing tract the Thal is far inferior to the Bar, It is treeless and has little scrub jangle growth of any value. Writing of the 800,000 acres of the Khushab Thal Mr. Wilson Observed.( Forest Department proceedings No. 26 of September 1893).
“this desert tract forms a marked contrast to the level loamy soil of the Bar uplands on the other side of the Jhelum. Although is appears to have a somewhat similar substratum of hard level soil its surface is covered by a succession of sand-hills, on following the other like the waves of any angry sea. There is hardly a tree in the whole tract, the natural produce consisting of scanty grass and stunted bushes of lana. (caroxylon faetidum), bui(panderia pilosa) and phog (Callingoum polugnodies), all useful for goats and camels, and of ak(calotropis gigantea) and harmal (peganum harmala), which nothing will touch . Between the hillocks the harder subsoil appears in strips and patches , which in favourable years produce good grass and repay the cost of rude cultivation . At regular settlement about 1864 the population of the Thal was found to be only 14907, living in 25 villages scattered over the tract. They lived an almost entirely pastoral life, and owned about 3500 camels, 16000 cows and bullocks, and 60000 sheep and goats . The area under cultivation was only 4862 acres or less than one percent of the total area. The system adopted at regular settlement of reserving a portion of the waste for the State was much the same as that already , described for the Bar, except that here, owing to the inferior character of the soil and rainfall. 10 acres of grazing ground were allotted to the villages for each head of cattle they possessed. The result was that about 2,70,000 acres were declared to be State land, and the remainder amounting to about two – thirds of the whole Thal area, was allotted in proprietary right to the village communities. “ The huge Thal area of the Mianwali district was pervious to the formation of the North- West Frontier Province, part of the Mainwali tahsil of Bannu and the Bhakkar and leiah tahsils of Dera Ismail Khan. No final decision as to the respective rights of Government and the village land owners was made till the regular settlements of these two districts were carried out. Considering how little cultivation there then was in the Thal , the settlement was an extraordinary liberal one. Roughly out of twenty – six lakhs of acres untouched by the plough Government claimed eight. (See paragraph 200 of Mr. Thorbun’s settlement report of Bannu, paragraphs 518-533 and 535 of Mr. Tucker’s settlement report of Dera Ismail Khan and paragraphs 29-30 of Mr. Lyall’s review of the latter. In the Thal of the Muzffargarh district the State owns over 1.5 lakhs of acres.
758to 760 Cancelled.
761. Rakhs in old Rawalpindi district. The plain rakhs of the old Rawalpindi district cover an area of about eighty thousand acres. Most of them are in the western tahsils , which now from part of the Attack district. A short notice of their history will be found in the 19th paragraphof the Financial Commissioner’s reviewof Mr. Robertson’s settlement report of theRawalpindi district. The latest orders about these poor rakhs, some of which contain no wood at all- while others show a scanty growth of phulahi and karil, will be found in Forest Department proceedings Nos. 25-33 of April and 1-6 of September 1907 . They are mostly under the charge of the Deputy Commissioner , and are of the class which should be managed entirely in the interestsof the neighboring villages.
762.And 763 Cancelled.
764. Rakhs in Lahore. The same difficulty arose in an acute form in regard to the Lahore rakhs. Most of the reclamation’s of waste lands in these rakhs were first made about the year 1852 when the commissioner of the Lahore division, wishing to see all waste land in the Lahore district brought under cultivation as soon as possible, issued an order that “hopes should be held out to the cultivators that if they fully cultivate the land they would be treated as proprietors, and that if they fully cultivate the land they would be treated as proprietors, and that if they sunk wells the lands would be assessed at barani rates only . “Leases for cultivation were accordingly given upon very favorable terms and security was constantly taken from the lessees , binding them to cultivate the land and not use it for grazing. This policy was followed for a period of ten years, when , owing to the rapid extension of cultivation which had followed upon the opening of the Bari Doab Canal , A change was made in the policy of Government, and the Financial Commissioner directed that for the future all land given for cultivation in the rakhs should be given upon annual leases only. These orders were gradually acted upon between 1862 and 1869. In the latter year the rentals of the various rakhs were re-assessed and in1870 the while of them were handed over to the Forest Department. IN 1872, however many of the rakhs were re-transferred to district management. From those which remained under forest management practically all the tenants were evicted. In the rakhs re-transferred to the Deputy Commissioner the system of annual leases was continued. Although under the tenure of each lessee was nominally terminated each year yet in general the cultivators managed to secure continuity of possession, and if ejected from one portion of a rakh through their rights to cultivate being sold over their heads, established themselves on other land in the same rakh. Of a large class of these tenants Mr. Dane writes .- “Tenants therefore who are the direct representatives of men settled on the land in this way by order of a Government officer, and who have since remained continuous possession, have undoubted claims to be treated with consideration . In may cases the tenants own no other hand , and have founded villages and located themselves permanently in the rakhs, and although by receiving annual leases they have admitted the right of Government to oust them at pleasure, their eviction would be a somewhat harsh and arbitrary measure.”
The rights of the tenants in the Lahore rakhs were the subject of an elaborate report by Mr. R.M. Dane in 1882, Sir Louis Dane in 1885 , and Sir W.O. Clark in 1887 , and final orders on the case were passed by the local Government and the Government of India in 1889.( Forest proceedings Nos. 1-2 of January , 1884 9-10 of February , 1885,7-9 of April, 1888,3-4 of May, 1889, and 1 of August ,1889.
765. Fuel Rakhs put under management of forest Department. The construction of the railway from Multan to Lahore , which was opened in 1865, made the fuel supply to be drawn from the rakhs in the Lahore , Montgomery Multan and Musaffargarh districts an urgent question. In 1864 Dr. J. Stewart drew up an important report on the Subject,( See correspondence printed in Forest proceedings No. 1 of 1894.) and in the same year the Forest Department in the Punjab came into being. Dr. Stewart showed that the larger part of the Bar waste was of little use except for grazing and browsing and that the railway and the Indus Stream Flotilla must look for their fuel supply mainly to those rakhs in the Bar or in the lower lands adjoining the Bar in which the jand (proposes spicigera or the farash (tamarir articulata grew freely. (See pages 46 and 288of Gamble’s Mannual of Indian Tibers “ . The jand yields far better fuel than the farash.) In the discussion which followed the policy first emerged of handing over to the stricter management of the Forest Department the fuel rakhs and keeping the rest under the looser control of the Deputy Commissioner. ( The colonization of vast area of Government waste in the south –west of the Punjab as a consequence of the excavation of the Chenab and Jhelum Canals has greatly reduced the fuel rakhs managed by the Forest Department. Proposals have been made in connection with the cannal scheme to hand over large areas to the Department to be worked as irrigated plantations.) When rakhs are managed by the Forest Department it is usually desirable to notify them as reserved forests, but those incharge, of the Deputy Commissioner can generally be left as “unclassed forests,” by which is meant Government waste which has neither been declared a “reserved forest” under Chapter II nor a protected forest” unider Chapter IV of the forest Act. Of course a forest officer may be in charge of “unclassed forest” and a deputy commissioner of “reserved forest,” and the limits of jurisdiction have often been re-arranged. The question is largely one of administrative convenience.
766. Relations of Deputy Commissioner and forest Officer. But the nature of forest management is so vital to the comfort of the rural population that, wherever the line is drawn , the Deputy Commissioner must be in constant communication with, and in some important matters must control, the Forest Officer.
The following instructions on the subject were issued in 1888:- (Later amendments have been embodied in the instructions as printed in the text. )
“(1) Nothing in these instructions applied to the working of the Punjab River Rule, to the collection of drift and stranded timber under chapter VIII of Indian Forest Act , to forests in Indian States, or to Changa Manga Reserve. Neither do they apply to limited area in one district managed by a forest officer whose main duties lie in another district.
(2) When the Collector considers it desirable that magisterial powers for the trail of forest offenses should be conferred on a forest officer, the local Government will be prepared to consider such a recommendation; but each case of this kind will be separately treated with reference to local requirements and the personal qualifications of the forests officer concerned.
(3) (a) In respect of matters mentioned clause (b) of this paragraph the district forest officer is under the control of the Collector in his management of :-
In a sub-division of a district, as for example in the Kulu sub-division of the Kangra district, the control of the Collector may be exercised through the Assistant Collector in charge of the sub-division.
The Collector will see that tahsildars and the subordinate revenue, agency of all grades render assistance not only in the management of Government waste lands, and especially in the assessment and collection of Government dues, but also in the management of all forests. All distinctions and practices which are likely to encourage the impression that forest work lies outside the ordinary duties of land revenue officials should be gradually abolished. The Collector will also authorize the district forest officer to address orders to these officials direct in matters in which it may be convenient that he should , in ordinary cases , act without the intervention of the Collector.
Should a forest officer be district forest officer of more than one district, he will write a separate diary for each district.
This diary written on half –margin, will be sent weekly to the Collector , and will be accompanied by a brief precis of any correspondence with the Conservator affecting the matters in respect of which the control of the collector is exercised . The Collector will retain the precis, but will forward the diary without delay to the Conservator of forest adding any remarks he may wish to make.
The Conservator of Forest will return the diary direct to the district forest officer, who will lay before the Collector any remarks that the Conservator may have made thereon.
(6) All the lands mentioned instruction 3(a) shall be administered in accordance with working plans sanctioned by Government.
(7) It has not been possible to provide working plans for all these lands. But when the conservator of forest is in a position to provide a working plan, he will in consultation with the Commissioner of the Division, issue orders for its preparation.
All working plans require the countersignature of the collector and the Commissioner. After countersignature the plans will, if they relate to (I) reserved forest or to (ii) protected forests, be submitted by the Conservator to the Chief Conservator of Forests for scrutiny and approval of technical points. The Chief Conservator of Forests will forward them to the local Government with its opinion and remarks and the local Government will pass orders upon them, furnishing a copy of the same to the Inspector- General of Forests for confirmation or record. But if they relate to (iii) unclassed forests and waste lands owned by the State or in which the State has forest rights , they will be sent by the Chief Conservator of forests to Government direct.
Working plans when sanctioned by Government cannot be altered except under the procedure and sanction above described.
(8) The regulation and management of grazing will be in accordance with the system prescribed by the orders of the Financial Commissioner.
(11) Forest Officers to be consulted in certain case. The district forest officer will be consulted by the Collector with reference to all proposed alienation’s of forests or waste lands by grant, lease or sale; and he will give such assistance in case of this nature as the Collector may require, especially in the selection of the sites and determination of the boundaries of proposed grants . No land whiter protected or unclassed forest or waste , the revenue of which is credited to the forest Department , will be granted, leased or sold until the consent of the Chief Conservator of forests to its alienation has been obtained.
This paragraph does not give the Forest Department authority to grant leases of unclassed forest land in regard to which the rules for the lease of waste lands(See chapter XXII) must be observed.
12(a) Office and routine. The offices of district forests officers will , so far as possible, be located in or in the immediate vicinity of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.
(b)Formal official correspondence between the Collector and the district forest officer concerning matters dealt with by these instructions should be avoided as far as possible ; written communications , when necessary , being carried on by the transmission of original files and cases under the same rules as apply to the transaction of business between a Collector and his Revenue Assistant.
(c) The Collector may direct the district forest officer to the files in the district record office such of the forest records as relate to forest settlements or revenue leases or other matters affecting to use of the forests and waste lands by the population adjacent thereto.
(13) Important Proposals. Proposal of importance for the formation of new forests or which affect the use of the forests and waste lands by the adjacent population will be addressed by the Chief Conservator of Forests to Government direct.
(14) Special assessments under section 59(e) of Land Revenue Act. Nothing in the above instructions is to be under stood as affecting the responsibility of the revenue officers in respect of the special assessments described in clause (e) of section 59 of the land Revenue Act.”
767. Rules for management of unclassed forests- The 48th section of the Punjab Laws Act (IV of 1872), provided that “no person shall make use of the pasturage or other natural product of any land being the property of the Government except with the consent and subject to rules to be from time to time, either generally or in any particular instance, prescribed by the local Government.”
No general actions was taken till the year 1896.( Punjab Government notification No.58, dated 1st February, 1896 . Rules applicable to the Muzaffargarh district had been issued in notification No. 94 , dated 21st March, 1882, see paragraph 772.) The rules issued in 1896 were republished with a few verbal alterations in 1900 when they were being extended to the Agror valley in the district of Hazara. ( Punjab Government notification No. 1986, dated 11th August, 1900) They are as follows :-
1.(1) This rule, rules 2 to 9( both inclusive), and rule 17 apply in the first instance to all waste lands which are the property of the Government in the local areas mentioned in the schedule, except:-
But the said rules may be extended to lands of classes (c) and (d) by special order of the local Government published in the official Gazette.
(2) Rules 10 to 16 (both inclusive) apply in the first instance to the Multan district only, but may be extended to any other local area by special order of the local Government published in the official Gazette.
In these rules :-
(2) Every such lease shall include:-
(a) in cases where the consideration-money is payable by instalments, a statement as to the amount of the said instalments and the dates on which they will fall due,
(b) in cases where the lease relates to the right of grazing:-
(c) in all cases a clause providing that, if the leased area or any part thereof is at any time required by Government for public purposes, the lease shall be terminable on payment to the farmer of reasonable compensation to be assessed by the Collector.
6.(1) The owners of cattle grazing on any lands to which these rules apply shall pay to the Collector or forest officer, or to the farmer, as the case may be, fees according to a scale fixed from time to time by the Financial Commissioner for each district: provided that no fee shall be charged for any sheep or goat less than six months old, or for any other animal less than one year old.
10.(1) The Collector may , with the previous sanction of the Financial Commissioner, make an agreement on behalf of Government with the whole community of cattle owners residing in any estate to pay such an annual assessment, by way of commutation for grazing dues; as may be agreed upon between the Collector and such community.
(2). Such assessment shall not, without the sanction of the local Government, be made for a period exceeding five years; and when such an assessment has been concluded and recorded in such manner as the Financial Commissioner shall direct, no person comprised in such community of cattle- owners shall be liable to separate assessment in respect of any cattle belonging to him and grazing during the period mentioned in such agreement on lands to which these rules apply, within the limits of the tract regarding which the agreement is made.
(2) The amount assessed under rule 10 shall be collected by lambardars of estates or headmen of association of cattle-owners , or by such other persons as the Collector may appoint , and such lambardars, headmen, or other persons shall levy grazing dues from the cattle-owners in accordance with rates which shall be fixed by the Collector, so as not to exceed in the aggregate the total assessment and to apportion the incidence thereof amount the cattle owners as nearly as may be in proportion to the number and kind of cattle owned by each.
(3.) If the amount of the grazing dues leviable under this rule from a cattle – owner belonging to any community, or association which has accepted an assessment under rule 10 , is not paid by such cattle – owner or by some other person on his account when duly demanded, the Collector may entirely rescind the agreement made under rule 10 in respect of such community or association.
(Punjab Government notification No. 816 – Revenue , dated 23rd December 1908.)
Local areas to which rules 1 to 9 and rule 17 apply :-
Dera Ghazi Khan District
768. Executive instructions as to rakhs under district management-As regards Government waste lands other than those under the Forest Department, these rules have been supplemented by the following executive instructions :-(Punjab Government letter No. 235 – General , dated 1st April , 1896.)
It is not intended that details of management should require the Commissioner’s sanction, but it is essential that he should be in a position to exercise a general control over the treatment of Government waste lands in his division.
769. Tirni- Allusion has been made in paragraph 756 to the fees levied on account of the grazing of cattle in the large waste areas owned by the State in the west of the Punjab . These charges are known as tirni. In theory tirni is a rent paid for pasturage; in practice it has been partly that and party an assessment levied on the profits derived from the rearing of cattle. In fact the word has sometimes been employed so as to include the land revenue paid by the proprietors of an estate on account of the village waste . The levy of tirni on account of grazing in Government lands has been regulated by the rules issued under section 48 of Act IV of 1872, quoted in paragraph 767. The subject has lost much of its importance with the extension of canal irrigation in the west of the province and the colonization of the Bar tracts. But a brief sketch of its history should find a place in any book dealing with the administration of land in the Punjab.
770. Tirni in the Bar tracts of Jhang, Multan and Montgomery- In the South-west of the province an assessment on cattle was an obvious and reasonable way of raising revenue. Diwan Sawan Mal inherited the system of levying tirni from the Muhammadan rulers who were displaced by Ranjit Singh , and we inherited it from Sawan Mal.. He was wise enough to make his collections through the leading men of the local tribes, and we continued the same plan, calling them sadr tirni guzars. The Board of Administration in 1853 issued rules fixing rates for the assessment of tirni varying from Rs. 1-8-0 for a female camel to half an anna for a sheep or goat. Payment of these rates made cattle fee of the whole Government waste in the district. The rules contemplated an assessment of tirni on village cattle for the term of the short settlements then being made, and an assessment on the nomad graziers of the Bar on the basis of the old payments made by the sadr tirni guzars .
771. Rules of 1860. The system of annual leases-Colonel Hamilton, the Commissioner of Multan, reported on the subject in 1858, and rules proposed by him were sanctioned by Government in 1860 for adoption in the old Multan and Leiah divisions1. The basis of the system then set up was direct collection by Government with the help of the village headmen and sadr tirni guzars of a demand revised annually as the result of enumeration. Of course a yearly cattle census was really impracticable, but every village or group of camel men grazing in the Bard was liable to have its assessment changed from year to year on reports furnished by a small and poorly paid tirni establishment or by tehsil officials. Norminally a village might declare its intention to graze its cattle solely in its own waste, and claim to be exempt from tirni. But if a single head of cattle was found in the Government waste the whole estate became liable. In practice very few villages were allowed to be recusant (inkari) otherwise the whole system would have broken down. The cattle of a tirni guzar village could graze in any part of the State lands within the limits of the district.
1. See Barkely’s Non-Regulation Law of the Punjab, pages 321-326.
772. The chak system-The complaints made against the above plan were that it led to much official corruption, that it yielded a less income than would be obtained by dividing the waste into large blocks and leasing the right to collect the authorised fees within these blocks to farmers and that it allowed the pastoral tribes to wander uncontrolled over the whole district, and thus fostered their criminal tendencies and their aversion to settled agricultural pursuits. Orders were accordingly issued about 1870 for the adoption of the chak system. Each chak or block of Government waste was to be leased yearly o a farmer, and cattle grazing in more than one block had to pay the full fees to the lessee of each. In Montgomery the introduction of the chak system was vehemently opposed by the grazing community, but they yielded when they saw that otherwise outsiders would be brought in as farmers, and most of the leases were at first given to leading members of the land owning tribes. Finally all or most of the contracts were combined in the hands of one speculative farmer, who had to be assisted in making his collections by the whole officials machinery of the district. In 1879 the plan broke down under the burden of its unpopularity, and the old system of annual village leases was reintroduced, one payment giving the privilege of grazing over the whole district. The right to collect tirni at the authorised rates from “naubaramad” cattle or animal brought for grazing purposes from another district continue to be leased. In Jhang the introduction of outside contractors, which led to so much complaint in Montgomery was avoided. Mr. Steedman, the Settlement Officer, described the plan in force in that district as follows;-
“The grazing waste of the Bar is divided into chaks. The right of collecting the tirni in these chaks in nominally auctioned annually, but as a matter of fact the lessees are almost from year to year the same body of influential zamindars residing in the neighbourhood of the chak and the Deputy Commissioner fixed the amount of lease money………….All the villages in the district are either tirni guzar (paying) or ghair tirni guzar. In the former it is taken for granted that all the cattle graze in the Government Bar, and accordingly rates are levied on every head of cattle existing in the particular chak or other in which they are accustomed to graze. Some few situated close to the boundary of two chaks have been allowed to graze in both on payment of a single fee, but as rule cattle can only graze for a single fee in the one chak to which the village is allotted……………The collection of the fees is left entirely to the lessees.
“The non paying villages are those which are not allotted to any chak, and the cattle of which it is presumed, do not graze in the Bar. If they do they become liable to punitive rates, treble or quadruple the ordinary rate. But these punitive rates are not levied in practice for a lessee is glad to secure these and other outsiders, and even to offer them lower than the prescribed rates in order to attract them to his chak. The nomad graziers who own herds but no village in the Bar, attach themselves to a chak, with respect to which they stand in the same relation as the paying villages. The chakdars collect the full fee from every head of cattle in villages assessed to tirni in connection with their chak, and also collect the tirni payable for the cattle of outsiders grazing in their chak, whether belonging to tirni paying or exempt villages of their district or to another district. The latter collections are know as “nau baramad”.
773. The system of quinquennial leases-The chak system was quite unsuited to Multan with its scanty and capricious rainfall. The particular block of waste to which a village was attached might in any year be bare of grass, and the cattle had to be driven for pasturage to the other end of the district. The attempt to introduce the plan therefore proved abortive from the first. In 1878 Mr. Roe, when Settlement Officer of Multan, proposed to substitute for yearly, quinquennial village assessments, and four years later as Deputy Commissioner he carried out this plan with the sanction of the Financial Commissioner. The opportunities for extortion and corruption on the part of underlings were greatly diminished and the reform was afterwards introduced also in Jhang and Montgomery. It is still in force, but in the Jhang Bar and in the part of Montgomery lying to the west of the Ravi1 tirni has become a matter of very small importance. The 10th to the 15th of the rules quoted in paragraph 767 relate to the quinquennial system of tirni assessment.
1. Revenue proceedings Nos. 11-16 of April, 1905.
774. Tirni in the Thal-The Thal has has been described in paragraph 757. It is now included in four districts. The greater part of it is in the Minawali, Bhakkar and Leiah Tahsils of Mianwali. Up to the formation of the North West Frontier Province the Minawali Tahsil was part of the Bannu, and the other two tahsils part of the Dera Ismail Khan district. The rest of the Thal is in the Khushab Tahsil of Shahpur, the Sinawan Tahsil of Muzaffargarh and in the part of the Jhang District lying to the west of the Jhelum. In the Bannu settlement report Mr. Thorburn described the tirni as it existed before the regular settlement of 1872-78 in the Mianwali Tahsil and the description applies also to the Leiah and Bhakkar tahsils-“On annexation, wherever a community was found, an enumeration of its cattle was made, and tirni imposed after which grazers had, irrespective of residence a right of pasturage over the whole Thal…….Thus tirni was a poll tax on cattle……….As graziers are somewhat migratory and murrain…..is occasionally very destructive, the annual imposition of the settlement amount on each village caused serious inequality of taxation.”1 As already noticed (paragraph 757) the greater part of the huge area of the Thal, which is best adapted to the grazing of goats, sheep and camels, was included at the regular settlement in village lands. In Leiah and Bhakkar a fixed grazing assessment was imposed on the Thal waste included in village boundaries. But in order to meet the case of camels which browse over large areas, it was decided that they should not be included in this assessment and should be free to browse in any Thal village. It was the more necessary to make this arrangement as the camels of the powindah traders from Afghanistan, which pay tirni on entering British territory, pass through the Thal. The tax on the camel belonging to the Thal village is framed to contractors, the estates being grouped in dags or chaks for leasing purposes. The farmers collect from camel owners at rates fixed by Government Powindah camels grazing in village lands pay nothing. The Government rakhs are leased out yearly, generally to the headman of neighbouring villages, who realise fixed fee from all animals including camels whether belonging to residents of the district or outsiders, found in the rakhs, Powindah camels grazing in the rakhs pay the usual fees2. The same system was adopted at the regular settlement of Bannu for the Mianwali Tahsil, but there powindah camels were excluded from village waste except with the consent of the landowners, and were charged half rates when browsing in Government rakhs3. The forty five chaks into which the Government land in the Thal of the Khushab Tahsil of Shahpur is divided is sold annually at a fair assessment fixed by the Deputy Commissioner to the headmen of adjoining villages, the grazing fees which the farmers are entitled to collect being of course fixed.4 The Government waste lands of the Jhang Thal are also leased annually. There is no separate camel tirni.5 In Muzaffargarh too the plan of fixed grazing assessment for village waste and leasing of Government rakhs was adopted and special rules were framed under section 48 of the Punjab Laws Act, IV of 1872 which were substantially the same as rules 3 to 9 and 17 of the general rules issued many years later.6
1. Mr. Thorburn’s settlement report of Bannu paragraphs 202 and 300.
2. Paragraphs 534-538 of Mr. Thucker’s settlement report of Dera Ismail Khan and paragraph 72 of Mr. Hailey’s Thal assessment report.
3. Mr. Thorburn’s Bannu settlement report paragraph 202.
4. Mr. Wilson’s Khushab assessment report paragraph 49.
5. Mr. Steedman’s Jhang settlement report paragraph 219.
6. Notification No. 94 dated 21st March 1882. The general rules given in paragraph 767 apply to Muzaffargarh.
775. Tirni in Shahpur and Lahore- In the districts of Shahpur and Lahore where the Government lands in the Bar tract consist proprietary estates, the practice has been to lease out the grazing of each rakh separately. Sound policy dictates the giving of the lease to adjoining villages if a reasonable sum is offered for it. There is no real difference between the tirni system of the Shahpur and Lahore Bar tracts and that of the Thal. In fact the latter was copied from the former1. The Shahpur Bar has ceases to be a grazing tract in consequence of the construction of the Lower Jhelum Canal.
1. Paragraphs 525 and 526 of Mr. Tucker’s settlement report of Dera Ismail Khan
776. Forest policy aid down in resolution No. 22-F dated 19th October,1894- This chapter may fitly be concluded with the important resolution on forest policy issued by the Government of India in 1894. It may fairly be claimed that the principles laid down had in the main been enforced by the Punjab Government for a considerable period anterior to the publication of the resolution, but Deputy Commissioners have been instructed to refer for orders any cases which seem to have been dealt with in a way inconsistent with its spirit.
1. In Chapter VIII of his report on the improvement of Indian agriculture, Dr. Volcker dwells at length upon the importance of so directing the policy of the Forest Department that it shall serve agricultural interests more directly than at present; and in his review of forest administration for 1892-93, the Inspector General of Forests discusses in some detail the principles which should underlie the management of State forests in British India. While agreeing generally with the principles thus enunciated by the Inspector General of Forests, the Government of India, thinks that it will be convenient to state here the general policy which they desire should be followed in this matter; more especially as they are of opinion that an imperfect apprehension of that policy has, in some recent instances been manifested.
2. The object of forests administration is the public benefit-The sole object with which State forests are administered is the public benefit. In some cases the public to be benefited are the whole body of tax payers; in others the people of the tract within which the forest is situated; but in almost all cases the constitution and preservation of a forest involve, in greater of less degree, the regulation of rights and the restriction of privileges of user in the forest area which may have previously been enjoyed by the inhabitants of its immediate neighbourhood. This regulation and restriction are justified only when the advantage to be gained by the public is great; and the cardinal principle to be observed is that the rights and privileges of individuals must be limited, otherwise than for their own benefit, only in such degree as is absolutely necessary to secure that advantage.
3. Classification of forests-The forests of India, being State property may be broadly classed under the following headings:-
It is not intended that any attempt should be made to class existing State forests under one or other of these four heads. Some forests may occupy intermediate positions, and parts of one and the same forest may fall under different heads. The classification is useful only as affording a basis for the indication of the broad policy which should govern the treatment of each class respectively; and in applying the general policy, the fullest consideration must be given to local circumstances.
4. (a) Forests of which the preservation is essential-The first class of forests are generally situate on hill slopes, where the preservation of such vegetation as exists, or the encouragement of further growth, is essential to protection from the devastating action of hill torrents of the cultivated plains that lie below them. Here the interests to be protected are important beyond all comparison with the interests which it may be necessary to restrict; and so long as there is a reasonable hope of the restriction being effectual, the lesser interests must not be allowed to stand in the way.
5. (b) Large timber forests. To be managed on commercial lines subject to the satisfaction of the needs of the neighbouring population- The second class of state forests include the great tracts from which our supply of the more valuable timbers-teak, sal, deodar, and the like-is obtained. They are for the most part (though not always) essentially forest tracts and encumbered by very limited rights of user; and when this is the case, they should be managed mainly on commercial lines as valuable properties of, and sources of revenue to, the State. Even in these cases, however, customs of user will, for the most part, have sprung up on the margins of the forest; this user is often essential to the prosperity of the people who have enjoyed it; and the fact that its extent is limited in comparison with the area under forest renders it the more easy to continue it in full. The needs of communities dwelling on the margins of forest tracts consist mainly in small timer for building, wood for fuel, leaves for manure and the fodder , thorns for fencing, grass and grazing and for their cattle, and edible forest products for their own consumption. Every reasonable facility should be afforded to the people concerned for the full and easy satisfaction of these needs, if not free (as may be possible where a system of regular cuttings has been established), then at low and not at competitive rates. It should be distinctly understood that considerations of forest income are to be subordinated to that satisfaction.
There is reason to believe that the area which is suitable to the growth of valuable timber has been over-estimated, and that some of the tracts which have been reserved for this purpose might have been managed with greater profit both to the public and to the State, if the efforts of the Forest Department had been directed to supplying the large demand of the agricultural and general population for small timber, rather than the limited demand of merchants for large timber. Even in tracts of which the conditions are suited to the growth of large timber, it should be carefully considered in each case whether it would not be better, both in the interests of the people and of the revenue, to work them with the object of supplying the requirements of the general and in particular of the agricultural population.
6. Opening of forests to cultivation-It should also be remembered that, subject to certain conditions to be referred to presently, the claims of cultivation are stronger than the claims of forest preservation. The pressure of the population upon the soil is one of the greatest difficulties that India has to face, and that application of the soil must generally be preferred which will support the largest numbers in proportion to the areas available for cultivation. Accordingly, wherever an effective demand for culturable land exists and can only be supplied from forest areas, the land should ordinarily be relinquished without hesitation; and it this principle applies to the valuable class of forests under consideration, it applies a fortiori to the less valuable classes which are presently to be discussed. When cultivation has been established it will generally be advisable to disforest the newly settled area. But it should be distinctly understood that there is nothing in the Forest Act, or in any rules or orders now in force, which limits the discretion of local Government, without previous reference to the Government of India (though of course, always subject to the control of that Government), in diverting forest land to agricultural purposes, even though that land may have been declared reserved forest under the Act.
7. Conditions on which cultivation should be permitted- Mention has been made of certain conditions to which the application of the principle laid down in the preceding paragraph should be subject. They have for their object the utilization of the forest area to the greatest good of the community. In the first place, the honey coming of a valuable forest by patches of cultivation should not be allowed, as the only object it can serve is to substitute somewhat better land in patches for sufficiently good land in large block, while it renders the proper preservation of the remaining forest area almost impossible. The evil here is greater than the good. In the second place, the cultivation must be permanent. Where the physical conditions are such that the removal of the protection afforded by forest growth must result, after a longer or shorter period, in the sterilization or destruction of the soil, the case falls under the principle discussed in paragraph 4 of this resolution. So again, a system of shifting cultivation which denudes a large area of forest growth in order to place a small area under crops, costs more to the community that it is worth, and can only be permitted, under the due regulation where forest tribes depend on it for their sustenance. In the third place the cultivation in question must not be merely nominal and an excuse for the creation of pastoral nominal or semi pastoral villages which do more harm to the forest than the good they reap from it. And in the fourth place cultivation must not be allowed so to extend as to encroach upon the minimum area of forest which is needed in order to supply the general forest needs of the country or the reasonable forest requirements, present and prospective, of the neighbourhood in which it is situated. In many tracts cultivation is practically impossible without the assistance of forests, and it must not be allowed to destroy that upon which its existence depends.
8. Customs of user in timer forests-It has been stated above that the forests under consideration are generally but not always free from customs of user. When, as sometimes happens, they are so intermingled with permanent villages and cultivation that customary rights and privileges militate against their management as revenue paying properties, the principles laid down at the end of paragraph 5 of this resolution should be observed and considerations of income should be made secondary to the full satisfaction of local needs.
Such restrictions as may be necessary for the preservation of the forest, or for the better enjoyment of its benefits, should be imposed; but no restriction should be placed upon reasonable local demands merely in order to increase the State revenue.
9. (c) Minor forests to be used chiefly for the supply of local needs- The third class of forests include those tracts which, though true forests, produce only the inferior sorts of timber or the smaller growths of the better sorts. In some cases the supply of fuel for manufacturers, railways, and like purposes is of such importance that these forests fall more properly under the second class and must be mainly managed as commercial undertakings. But the forests now to be considered are those which are useful chiefly as supplying fuel and fodder or grazing for local consumption; and these must be managed mainly in the interest of the population of the tract which supplies its forest requirements from this source. The first object to be aimed at is to preserve the wood and grass from destruction; for user must not be exercised so as to annihilate its subject, and the people must be protected against their own improvidence. The second object should be to supply the produce of the forests to the greatest advantage and convenience of the people, To these two objects all considerations of revenue should ordinarily be subordinated.
10. But revenue should not altogether be foregone- It must not be supposed from the preceding remarks that it is the intention of the Government of India to forego all revenue from the large areas that are valuable chiefly for the fuel and fodder which they yield. Cases must be distinguished. Where the areas in question afford the only grazing and the only supply of fuel to villages which lie around or within them, the necessities of the inhabitants of these villages must be treated as paramount, and they should be satisfied at the most moderate rates, and with as little direct official interference as possible. But where the villages of the tract have already ample pasture grounds attached to their cultivation and owned and managed by themselves, and where the Crown lands merely supplement these pastures, and afford grazing to a nomad pastoral population or to the herds that shift from one portion of the country to another with the changes of the season, Government may justly expect to reap a fair income from its property. Even in such cases, however, the convenience and advantage of the graziers should be studiously considered and the inhabitants of the locality or those who habitually graze over it, should have a preferential claim at rates materially lower than might be obtained in the open market. It will often be advantageous to fix the grazing demand upon a village or a nomad community for a year or a term of years. The system, like every other, has difficulties that are peculiar to it, but it reduces the interference of petty officials to the lowest point, and minimizes their opportunities for extortion and oppression. Where grasing fees are levied per capital, fee passes are often given to a certain number of cattle. In such cases the cattle which are to graze free should include not only the oxen which are actually employed on the plough, but also a reasonable number of milch cattle and calves. A cow or a buffalo is as much a necessity to a cultivator, using the word necessity in a reasonably wide sense, as is a plough bullock and in many parts the oxen are bred in the village.
11. Considerations connected with the formation of fuel and fodder preserves- In the portions of this report which are referred to in the preamble to the resolution, Dr. Volcker strongly recommends the formation of fuel and fodder preserves and the Government of India has repeatedly urged the same policy upon local Governments. The question whether any particular area can be made to support a greater number of cattle by preserving the grass and cutting it for fodder or by permitting grazing upon it, is one that must be decided by the local circumstances of each case. But when it has been decided, the issues are by no means exhausted. It has been stated in paragraph 9 above that one main object towards which the management of these minor forests should be directed is the supply of fuel and fodder “to the greatest advantage and convenience of the people.” In doing so, due regard must be bad to their habits and wishes. It may that strict preservation and periodical closures, or the total prohibitions of grazing, will result in the largest yield both of fuel and of fodder in the form of hay. But that is of small avail if the people will not utilize the increased supply in the form in which it is offered them. The customs of generations alter slowly in India and though much may and should be done to lead the people to their own profit, yet it must be done gently and gradually, always remembering that their contentment is no less important an object than is their material advantage. It must be remembered, moreover that the object of excluding grazing from the preserves in question is the advantage of the neighbourhood and that the realization of a larger income than grazing would yield by preserving the produce only to sell it to the highest bidder for consumption in large towns at a distance from the preserve is not always in accordance with the policy which the Government of India has inculcated. Here again circumstances must decide. It may be that the local supply of fuel or fodder, independently of the reserved area, is sufficient in ordinary years for the needs of the neighbourhood. In such a case the produce may legitimately be disposed of in such years to the greatest advantage, reserving it for local consumption only when the external supply runs short. Finally, the remarks regarding agency in paragraph 12, and the more general considerations that are discussed below in paragraph 13 of this resolution, apply in full force to areas thus reserved for the supply of fuel and fodder.
12. (d) Pasture land. Same principles apply as to class (c), but with greater force- The fourth class of forests referred to are pastures and grazing grounds proper which are usually forests only in name. It is often convenient indeed to declare them forests under the Act in order to obtain a statutory settlement of the rights which the State on the one hand and private individuals or communities on the other posses over them. But it by no means follow as a matter of course that these lands should be subjected to any strict system of conservation, or that they should be placed under the management of the Forest Department. The question of agency is purely one of economy and expediency and the Government of India believe that in some cases where these lands are managed by the Forest Department, the expenditure on establishment exceeds the revenue, that is, or at any rate the revenue that ought to be realized from them.
The following remarks apply, not only to forest lands under the Act, whether administered by the Forest Department or not, but also to all Crown waste, even though not declared to be forest. Here the interests of the local community reach their maximum while those of the general public are of the slightest nature. If follows that the principles which have been already laid down for the management of minor forests apply, if possible, with even greater force to the management of grazing areas pure and simple.
13. Difficulties of management- The difficulties which arise in connection with these areas are apt to present themselves in their most aggravated form where the tenure of land is raiyatwari. In Zamindari tracts the Crown lands generally assume the second of the two forms indicated in paragraph 10 of this resolution. But where the settlement is raiyatwari, every survey number or field that is unoccupied or unassigned is in the possession and at the disposal of Government, and trespass upon it is prima facie forbidden. In some cultivated tracts, these unoccupied and waste lands are the only source available from which the grazing requirements of the resident population can be met. The Government of India are clearly of opinion that the intermixture of plots of Government land which are used for grazing only, but upon which trespass is forbidden, with the cultivation of occupancy or proprietary holders, is apt to lead to extreme abuses, and especially so when these plots are under the management of the Forest Department. The inferior subordinates of the Forest Department are perhaps as reliable as can be expected on the pay which we can afford to give; but their morality is no higher than that of the uneducated classes from which they are drawn; while the enormous areas over which they are scattered and the small number of the controlling staff render effective supervision most difficult. It is not right in order to protect the grass or the grazing dues on plots of waste scattered over the face of a cultivated district, to put it into the power of an underling to pound or threaten to pound cattle on the plea that they have overstepped the boundary between their owner’s field and the next. Still less right it is to permit the exercise of the power of compounding offences allowed by section 67 of the Forest Act to depend upon the mere report of a subordinate servant, or to expose him to the temptation which such a power holds out. Where the interests involved are sufficiently important it may perhaps be necessary to accept the danger of extortion while minimizing as far as possible the opportunities for it. But in the case under consideration the interests involved are trifling, while the opportunities are unlimited.
14. Should generally be leased to be managed through the agency of neighbouring community-It is to be distinctly understood that the Government of India do not desire that grazing should be looked upon primarily as a source of income. But it by no means follows that all revenue from scattered Government lands should be relinquished. It is indeed inadvisable that this should be done as to do so would give the raiyats an interest in opposing allotment and making things unpleasant for new occupants. But the objections to direct management which have just been pointed out are reduced to a minimum, or altogether avoided when the management is placed in the hands of resident cultivators or of representatives from among them. It will generally be possible to lease or otherwise manage the unoccupied land of a village through the agency of the community; not indeed, at the highest price which they are ready to pay to escape such evils as have just been alluded to but at a moderate estimate of their value to them, fixed in view of the fact that herds and flocks, which cannot exist without grazing are often a necessary condition of the successful conduct of that cultivation upon which the Government land revenue is paid. In no case should fields that have been relinquished be let to outsiders at a reduced assessment for grazing purposes for then we might have speculators taking up such fields, mainly in order to make what they can out of trespassing cattle.
15. When “reservation” and when “protection” is preferred-One more point of principle remains to be noticed. The procedure under chapter-IV of the Indian Forest Act, whereby forests are declared to be protected, has been, in certain cases, regarded by the Government of India as a provisional and intermediate procedure, designed to afford time for consideration and decision with the object of ultimately constituting so much of the area as it is intended to retain a reserved forest under chapter II and of relinquishing the remainder altogether. The Act provides two distinct forms of procedures. But the more strict one, under chapter II, existing rights may be either settled, transfe3rred, or commuted; and this procedure will ordinarily be applied to forests of the first and second classes indicated in paragraph 3 of this resolution. By the second procedure under chapter IV rights are recorded and regulated; and this procedure will often be properly followed where the rights to which the area is subject are extensive and the forest is to be managed mainly in the interests of the local community. It will ordinarily be applied to forests of the 3rd and 4th classes. The second procedure may indeed be provisional, and introductory to reservation under chapter II: but there is in the Forest Act nothing repugnant to giving it a larger and even a permanent operation. As regard Government, the Chief difference between the two procedures is, that new rights may spring up in a protected but not in a reserved forest, and that the record of rights framed under chapter II is conclusive, while that framed under Chapter IV only carried a presumption of truth. It is believed that this presumption offers ample security where the object of regulating the rights is to provide for their beneficial exercise, rather than to override them to the public interest. As regards the people the chief difference is that speaking broadly, in a reserved forest everything is an offence that is not permitted, while in a protected forest nothing is an offence that is not prohibited. In theory it is possible so to frame the permission and the prohibition as to make the results identical in the two case: but in practice it is almost impossible to do so. If it were not so, the distinction drawn by the Legislature would be unnecessary and meaningless. It is only where the public interests involved are of sufficient importance to justify the stricter procedure and the more comprehensive definition of forest offences, that the latter should be adopted.
The Governor General in Council desires, therefore, that with regard both to fuel and fodder preserves, and to grazing areas pure and simple, and especially to such of them as lie in the midst of cultivated tracts, it may be considered in each case whether it is necessary to class them or if already so classed, to retain them as forest areas; and if this question is decided in the affirmative whether it would not be better to constitute them protected rather than reserved forests.
16. Concluding remarks- Such are the general principles which the Government of India desire should be observed in the administration of all States forests in British India. They are fully aware that the detailed application of these principles must depend upon an infinite variety of circumstances which will have be duly weighed in each case by the local authorities to whose discretion the decision must be left. One of the dangers which it is most difficult to guard against is the fraudulent abuse of concessions for commercial purposes; and only local considerations can indicate how this can best be met. The Government of India recognize the fact that the easier treatment in the matter of forest produce which His Excellency in Council desires should be extended to the agricultural classes may, especially in the case of true forest areas, necessitate more careful supervision in order that the concession may be confined within its legitimate limits. But, on the other hand, they think that, in some provinces, it will render possible a considerable reduction of existing establishment; and they desire that this matter may be carefully considered with reference to what has been said above in paragraph 12. They know also that in some provinces forest policy is already framed on the lines which they wish to see followed in all. But the Governor General in Council believes that local Governments and Administrations will be glad to receive the assurance now given them, that the supreme Government will cordially support them in recognizing and providing for local requirements to the utmost point that is consistent with Imperial interests. Where working plan or plans of operations are framed for forests, the provisions necessary for this purpose should be embodied in them. The exercise of the rights that have been recorded at settlement will necessarily be provided for in these plans. Where further concessions are made by way of privilege and grace it will be well to grant them for some such limited period as ten years, so that they may, if necessary, be revised from time to time, as the circumstances on which they were moulded change.