The Goa government’s draft Forest Policy which is kept open for public scrutiny, recognizes the sacred groves in the state which have been protected by the locals due to religious sentiments attached to them.
The policy envisages the Forest Department helping local institutions in management of these sacred groves, which have emerged as nature’s treasure troves.
Locally known as Devchiraj (Forest of God), such sacred groves are found in the talukas of Sattari and Sanguem on the foothills of the Western Ghats.
The policy notes that Goa has a rich tradition of maintaining the sacred groves mainly because of beliefs and traditions attached with these places and further stresses the need to document and protect these groves.
The policy doe not provide for the Forest Department taking over the groves but instead proposes that the Forest Department will help the local institutions to manage them.