Government today said that over 1.84 lakh hectare of forest land was diverted for non-forest use in 7716 cases in past five years.
"During last five years and current year, the Central government has accorded approvals to over 184393 hectare of forest land in 7716 cases for various developmental activities including urban areas," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar informed Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
Forest areas for such activities are approved by the Central government under section 2(ii) of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 with adequate environmental safeguards and afforestation measures in lieu of forest land proposed to be utilised for development activities.
"In general, private project proponents give equivalent non-forest land and it is transferred and mutated as forest land. During the last two years and current year an area of about 78301 hectare has been prescribed for compensatory afforestation as part of environmental safeguard," he said.