New Delhi, Apr 24 (UNI) The country has lost about two lakh hectares of forests during the last three years as the land under the green cover was diverted for various projects.
The figures were provided by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
The trees had to give place to a total of 5,638 projects sanctioned by the government between 2005 and 2008.
Punjab lost the maximum forest area of 69,782.11 hectares during this period, followed by Uttaranchal( 29,562.86 ha) and Uttar pradesh where 27,422.85 hectares of forest land was diverted for various projects.
Among other states where a substantial area of forest land has been diverted for non-forestry purposes are Chhattisgarh(10,955.86 ha), Andhra Pradesh(9,887.52 ha), Orissa(9,110.26 ha).
However, the Ministry said, compensatory afforestation was mandatory for the diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes.
It said that during the last three years, compensatory afforestation over 2,66,604 ha of land and about 24,923 ha afforestation had been done.
UNI NAZ SP HS1541