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Destruction of natural forest lands: Whither 'target' of 33% of area with tree cover?

Counterview Desk 

In an email representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India, senior power and climate change policy expert Shankar Sharma has said that recent approvals for/ condonation of forest destruction Hubli-Ankola Railway line proposal, Kaiga Nuclear Project capacity expansion, hydel power projects in three Wildlife Sanctuaries, and more than 20 other linear projects in the Western Ghats of Karnataka should be withdrawn immediately.
Offering a list of projects where the forests would be cleared in Karnataka, Sharma in his representation – copies of which have also been sent to the the MoEF&CC minister and the Prime Minister – said, he expects a “clarification” from the authorities in this regards.


The news report, The Modi government is letting companies get away with illegally clearing forests, should be a major embarrassment to the Union govt, and a serious concern for the people of the country.
Such approvals for/ condonation of forest destruction, including many within the legally protected Wildlife Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves, if allowed to continue, will become the death knell for the biodiversity in the country; thereby not only belying various commitments made by India in protecting forest lands, but also seriously impacting the true welfare of our people.
Such recent approvals for/ condonation of forest destruction include Hubli-Ankola Railway line proposal, Kaiga Nuclear Project capacity expansion, hydel power projects in three Wildlife Sanctuaries, and more than 20 other linear projects in the Western Ghats of Karnataka alone, as per the list attached.
Can we hope that the Ministry will do all that is necessary urgently to respect the honour of the promise made by the Prime Minister to the global community in the context of climate change mitigation, and also the promise made to the people of this country as per the Constitution?
Can you please arrange to bring all the associated issues to the kind attention of the Minister and the Hon'ble Prime Minister, so that such approvals for/ condonation of forest destruction are stopped immediately?
Arrangement may also please be made to provide suitable clarification to the people of this country on the allegations made in the news report, and also to clarify as to how the national forest policy target of 33% of the land area to be covered by forest and trees can be reached from the present level of less than 24%, if the destruction of such natural forest lands continue.



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