NEW DELHI: Over 20,000 hectares of forest area has been diverted for developmental projects like mining, dams and infrastructure projects in the last four years (2015-18) across India and top three states with highest forest diversion are Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, according to data from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change reviewed by this paper on Friday.
The numbers collated by the ministry show that the ministry cleared only 30 per cent of the total proposals it received in the last four years. A total of 4,552 proposals for forest diversion were received and 1,280 were approved, thus leading to diversion of 20,314.12 hectares of forest land in the country between 2014 and 2018. These projects are mainly under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime.
A comparative analysis of forest diversion under the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime between 2010 and 2013, shows that 1,254 projects were cleared and around 29,853 hectares of land was diverted.
In run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attacked the UPA government over delays in project clearances and slowing down the country’s growth and development.
Proposals for diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 are received in the Ministry from the concerned States and UTs.
The proposals are examined and after due diligence the proposals are either approved or rejected within the framework of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and its supporting rules and guidelines.