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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: October 2011

5 - Implementation of 1878 Act


The 1878 Act gave rise to several problems at the time of its implementation. The discontentment among people rose higher in the eighties. From the point of view of the Forest Department the 1878 Forest Act had overcome the weaknesses in the earlier 1865 Act. It was conveniently believed by Forest Officers like Baden-Powell, as seen earlier, that people did not like “restrictions.” Hence discontentment was natural, though it was not to be a cause of worry. Due to this attitude of the Forest Officers, several other genuine problems were also overlooked by them for a long time.

Besides the main issue of proprietorship of forests, there were several issues which arose at the time of actual implementation of the policy rules. The new system of management required exhaustive demarcation of forest land, which required systematic surveys not only of forest resources but also of the legal rights to forest products. Simultaeneously, control over the day-to-day use of the forests had to be attempted. All this meant support of good resources and adequate well-trained staff. But the department was understaffed and its budget was to be met entirely by revenues from the collection of forest fees. By performing the function of tax collection to meet its ends, the department became an extension of the Revenue Department which was rarely popular with the rural masses.

The regulations of 1861 explicitly subordinated the Conservators to the Collectors who dominated the district level government. Hence, all official communication among forest officials was channelled through the Collector's Office. This gave him an effective overview of the forester's work.