Assam has topped the list of states in terms of forest land encroachments in a report produced in the parliament during the question hour.
Answering to a question raised by Karnataka MP Karadi Sanganna Amarappa, Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav said that the extent of encroachment in forests in different states of the country totals upto 740,973 hectares. Notably, 50.94 per cent of these lands, or 377,500 hectares, are from Assam alone. Assam ranks first among all states in the country in terms of encroachments on forest land. According to data released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests 13 per cent of the total forest cover in Assam is now under encroachment.
The report further mentioned that the total forest cover in Assam adds upto 283,2700 hectares. Of these, 377,500 hectares, or 13 per cent, are occupied by the encroachers. In contrast, 34,358 hectares in Andhra Pradesh, or one per cent of the total forest cover in the state, and 384.38 hectares in Delhi, or 2 per cent of the total forest cover, are encroached upon.
“Similarly, 54,173.28 hectares in Madhya Pradesh, 33,154.19 hectares in Odissa and 53,450.43 hectares in Arunachal Pradesh have been hit by encroachers. Notably, no forest land has been encroached upon in states like Goa, Puducherry, Lakshadweep etc,” as mentioned by Union Minister of Environment Bhupendra Yadav while reading out the report.
The minister further added that there has been a considerable decline in the forest cover recently. “It should be noted that the abnormal change in weather and global warming have made environment scientists nervous. The need for forests is immense in terms of balancing the environment,” said Bhupendra Yadav.
With Assam topping the list, it is a point of concern as the state government even after pouring in lakhs of rupees in various projects of environmental concerns, have failed to protect the forest lands of the state from the encroachers.
The fact that the ruling government has failed to protect the forest land despite slogans of protecting forests, is effectively evident in the information submitted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on the floor of Parliament.
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