3.43L ha forest land diverted for development projects
More than 3.43 lakh hectares of forest land was diverted for development projects across the country between 2004 and 2013, the government said on Thursday.
Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha, said 3,43,909 hectares of forest land was diverted for 13,891 development projects during the period.
In the national Capital, over 14,254 trees were felled in the past two years for different projects, of which 8,196 were cut in 2013-14 and 6,058 in 2014-15, he said, while replying to a question on felling of trees for infrastructure projects.
"The central government considers proposals for non-forest use of forest land on the request of state governments and accord approval as per rules and guidelines framed under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 stipulating mitigative measures in the form of general, standard and specific conditions including raising of compensatory afforestation," the minister said.
Javadekar said a web-based portal for online submission and monitoring of forest clearance proposals, launched by the Ministry in July last year, has received 2,724 proposals till May 5, 2015.
Quoting the Indian State of Forest Report-2013, he said there is an overall net increase of 5,871 square kilometres in forest cover of the country as compared with the Indian State of Forest Report-2011.
"The Ministry has launched 'National Mission for a Green India' aimed at increasing the forest and tree cover by five million hectares and raising the quality of the existing forest cover," he said.