No green feeling for development activity, SC tells Himachal

No green feeling for development activity, SC tells Himachal

Himachal Shimla/New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has directed Himachal Pradesh Government to ban the green felling in the forest areas of state for any developmental activity till next date of hearing while passing an order. A bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta passed the interim order recently. The order said that in case of diversion where approvals have been given by the Divisional Forest Officer but felling of trees has not been done, no felling of trees shall take place till next date of hearing ie April 15, 2019. 'There shall be no diversion of the forest lands allotted to a Protection Working Circle in any Working Plan under FRA and FCA till next date, DFOS are restrained to exercise the power under Section 3(2) of FRA, 2006. ' the order said. Court said that authorities should ensure that destruction of the valuable and precious forests of Himachal Pradesh does not take place in any manner. Court directed that there would be no diversion of forest for any non-forestry purpose processed under FCA regulations.

The bench expressed grave concerns over a report submitted in connection with 'silviculture felling' of trees in Himachal Pradesh for regenerating forests, and rued that forests in the state are being destroyed by the mass scale felling. While asking the state government to submit its response to the report, the apex court directed it to ensure no further damage is caused to the forests. "Authorities to ensure that destruction of the valuable and precious forests of Himachal Pradesh does not take place in any manner whatsoever," said the bench. In February last year, the court had allowed 'silviculture felling' of trees to a limited extent and under strict monitoring of a two-member committee, headed by VP Mohan, a retired IFS officer and former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in Himachal Pradesh. SC had allowed the silviculture green felling on the pilot basis in three ranges of state including Poanta range of Sirmaur to fell the Sal tree, Bharadi range of Bilaspur to fell Pinus trees and Nurpur of Kangra to fell the Khair tree( Acacia catechu) under the monitoring of two member committee asking the video graph of felling. The court had modified its order of 1996 on an application by the state seeking its permission to carry out silviculture felling, including thinning and other cultural operations in accordance with the Working Plan approved by the Centre.


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