The government will open degraded forest land to commercial lumber, paper pulp and other wood based industries provided they have a sustainable development model, union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the 10th sustainability summit organized by industry body, the minister said sustainability was the need of the hour and new ways would have to be found to ensure it. He announced the government was looking at a policy which would allow companies with a viable, sustainable model of business to set up units in forest areas.
Clarifying that the areas in question will be degraded forest areas, Javadekar added that the move will benefit the lumber industry in particular along with generating employment in allied sectors such as furniture and carpentry. He said wood-based industries currently import wood from outside which pushes up costs.
Apart from that used by companies, an estimated ten per cent of the area will be reserved for regeneration of trees. This area will also serve the local community. A revenue sharing model will be implemented, whereby the government will take a part of the profits generated.
This policy is set to make land, especially in forest areas easily accessible by industry. The details and timeline of the policy were not elucidated by the minister
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