India Losing 135 hectare Forest Cover Daily : RTI
India’s forest cover is depleting faster than we could have ever thought of thanks to development projects for which large tracts of forest land are handed over to public and private agencies.
An RTI plea filed by environmentalists with the ministry of environment and forests has revealed startling data : the area of forest land diverted across the country on an average stands at 135 hectares (around 333 acres) per day. Such diversions are done for various projects including coal mines, thermal power plants, and river valley projects.
Members of the Environment Impact Assessment Resources and Response Centre (eRc), instrumental in compiling data, said that the figure in reality is much higher as their analysis pertains only to projects which have sought more than 40 hectares of land.
Ritwik Dutta, an advocate with Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) and closely associated with eRc said Karnataka is one of the states that has been diverting forest land. “Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh and Jharkhand are some of the other states which are into large-scale diversions. We are compiling state-specific data on the land being diverted,” he added.Uttarakhand experienced heavy floods because of incessant rains in the second week of June 2013 which left more than 150 people dead, thousands missing and stranded.