Expanding forest cover

Proposed legal amendments are in the right direction

Business Standard Editorial Comment

An amendment to the outworn Indian Forest Act has been due for a long while, especially since 1996, when a judgment by the Supreme Court changed the very fundamentals of the concept of forests and their governance. Any green patch that conformed to the “dictionary meaning” of the term “forest” be considered forest and governed accordingly, the court had decreed. With this, most kinds of land with a green canopy, regardless of their ownership, became “deemed forest”, requiring forest authorities’ prior permission before putting them to any use. Public institutions like the railways and road departments, too, needed the forest ministry’s nod to utilise their spare land alongside rail tracks and roads if trees or other vegetation had come up there. Strategically vital projects in border areas and elsewhere, too, had to go through the time-consuming process of getting necessary clearances.
The environment ministry has,

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First Published: Oct 19 2021 | 10:46 PM IST

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