Don’t say ‘diversion’ of forest land, say ‘reforestation’, says Prakash Javadekar

Environment ministry clears 229 projects in a month, up from 217 in a quarter.

Written by Jay Mazoomdaar | New Delhi | Updated: July 29, 2015 8:37 am
Prakash Javadekar, Environment ministry, Environment projects, Prakash Javadekar BJP, forest land, reforestation, new government projects, forest land, Forest Conservation Act, afforestation, Indian express All about thinking positive, says Minister Javadekar.

Wary of the perception that his ministry is clearing too many projects too fast, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has asked ministry officials to replace the word ‘diversion’ of forest land with ‘reforestation’ in all communications.

An intra-ministry communication issued on July 16 by Javadekar’s private secretary Vinay Srivastava stated: “Hon’ble minister has desired that henceforth in all communication the word ‘Clearance’ should be replaced by ‘Approval with Adequate Environmental Safeguards’ and the word ‘Diversion’ should be replaced by ‘Reforestation’.”

Asked about it, Javadekar said: “For every diversion of forest land for a project, a condition for clearance says that compensatory afforestation on equal area of non-forest land is a must. So ultimately, it is reforestation only. This is all about thinking positive and using the right expression.”

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Until November 2014, a total of 12,05,138 hectares of forest land was diverted for different projects in the country. In October 2002, the Supreme Court directed that a Compensatory Afforestation Fund should be created with the money received from the user-agencies. But compensatory afforestation targets were not met.

In 2013, a CAG report pointed out that against the receivable non-forest land of 1,03,381.91 hectares during the period 2006-12 for compensatory afforestation, only 28,086 hectares (27 per cent) was received. Actual compensatory afforestation done over non-forest land received was 7,280.84 hectares or just 7 per cent of the requirement. Similarly, afforestation over degraded forest land was done only on 49 per cent of the required area.

Asked about the backlog, Javadekar blamed “the inefficiency” of the previous UPA government. “We have acquired 20,000 hectares of non-forest land so far for afforestation,” he said, conceding that much of this land is yet to be planted with trees. Between July and December 2014, the NDA government diverted more than 16,000 hectares of forest land in only five months.

The instruction to replace ‘diversion’ with ‘reforestation’ follows Javadekar’s comment on the monthly report of the ministry’s achievements and activities in June sent to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha by Environment Secretary Ashok Lavasa on July 9. A copy of the report was marked to Javadekar on July 10 and he wrote down the desired changes on the margins of this report.

In the monthly report, the list of the ministry’s achievements in June started with the number of projects cleared and the extent of forest land diverted. “During the month,” wrote Lavasa, “229 projects pertaining to different sectors were given clearances.” Only five projects were rejected during the month.

This was significantly higher than the rate of clearance in the first quarter of the new government when the ministry cleared a total of 217 projects in three months.

Lavasa’s June report also noted that “57 cases were approved for diversion of 2335 ha of forest land under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.” In comparison, only 1039.27 ha forest land were earmarked for compensatory afforestation during the month.

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First Published on: July 29, 2015 3:41 am
  1. B
    bonku
    Jul 29, 2015 at 9:59 pm
    Destruction of forest can surely be termed as "reforestation" to make "development" more smooth and palatable by environment conscious Indians! I am not sure if these morons and their pet "scientists" even know that new planted (man made) forests can NEVER be the same (in quality and utility) as compared to natural forest- so far flora and fauna are concerned.
    Reply
    1. O
      Onyx Cleaner
      Jul 29, 2015 at 2:01 pm
      Whom are we cheating..? It is ourselves. Politicians whose sons and daughters have settled abroad and who have no care about our environment should be disqualified to run for office
      Reply
      1. P
        Pushkar
        Jul 31, 2015 at 6:58 pm
        Shamelessness and arrogance at its best..
        Reply
        1. A
          Ajay Bidikar
          Jul 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm
          Shri. Prakash Javadekar is the undisputed winner of 'India's Most Ignorant Illiterate Minister'. One more senseless, reckless and extremely ill-informed statement from India's Environment Minister! Does he even understand what reforestation is all about? Any schools willing to tutor this gentleman for his ignorance & illiteracy ??? 😡😡😡
          Reply
          1. A
            AN
            Jul 29, 2015 at 5:19 pm
            Disgusting to say the least! In the name of development, pristine forests are being destro. In the name of afforestation (if and when that happens), they end up planting trees like teak that will again give revenue when cut down. The countless species of flora and fauna that are lost, are lost forever. Planting one species of trees - essentially a plantation is not going to replace the lost biodiversity. Already we have devastating droughts in many parts of our country. You chop down the forest and plant saplings, where will the rain come from for the saplings to grow? Provide education to the millions, support the growth and sustenance of agriculture, improve and provide health and sanitation to the millions who are in need of it, increase forest cover, support existing industries and develop them, maintain existing highways and roads before cutting down forests to make new ones. All this to give your buddies in construction and mining extra cash in their pockets and thereby yours. Focus of the millions instead of the creme de la creme.
            Reply
            1. D
              Dharmendra
              Jul 30, 2015 at 10:08 am
              These are technical words and also defined in the Forest Conservation ACt and other rulings of court. How can a minister dictate simply by executive order. This will create lot of confusion, unless that itself is the objective
              Reply
              1. D
                Deeksha Sharma
                Jul 29, 2015 at 6:56 am
                BJP is rewriting the dictionary. Most of the words ociated with corruption will be replaced by 2019. A beginning has been made by renaming corruption as transaction. Now diversion is reforestation. Sad times for the country. No saviour in sight.
                Reply
                1. B
                  bottleneck
                  Jul 29, 2015 at 9:37 am
                  George Orwell would have been proud.
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Aneeb PA
                    Jul 29, 2015 at 7:46 am
                    True sir
                    Reply
                    1. J
                      Jagdish Maratha
                      Jul 29, 2015 at 1:13 pm
                      he is a bhakt and does not need logic to write comments..!!! they defy logic everytime and anytime
                      Reply
                      1. J
                        JONETO
                        Jul 29, 2015 at 5:29 pm
                        In the context of present modus opei governing diversion of forest land for other purpose, replacing the word diversion by reforestation has no stand. It is just for diverting more and more forest land for non-forest land. Development without a mind of environment is suicidal. Is not conserving environment a Development? Let us learn thinking Development with environment conservation, not separately. These people will learn only when the mother earth becomes unfit for human habitation. They will EAT, BREATHE ......DEVELOPMENT...DEVELOPMENT?
                        Reply
                        1. B
                          BharatK
                          Jul 29, 2015 at 7:30 pm
                          As long as you recreate same amount of forests you destroy to urban-industrial development, it should be accepted by all. Development is nessary to feed the billion plus people and develop the country. At same time, forest area must be preserved by afforestation, reforestation.
                          Reply
                          1. E
                            Elizabeth
                            Jul 30, 2015 at 11:25 pm
                            Common man is responsible for empowering these incompetent,,chamchas in environment and education dept resp,
                            Reply
                            1. E
                              Elizabeth
                              Jul 30, 2015 at 11:23 pm
                              its payback time for BJP to the BUILDER lobby ,,,this was expected..mon man being taken for a ride....
                              Reply
                              1. N
                                Nityananda
                                Jul 29, 2015 at 8:34 am
                                Merely planting trees after hacking down a forest will not get us a forest again. A true forest could take hundreds of years to develop . CAMPA is of course better than nothing ,, but it's better to use the words "plantation" rather than "afforestation" Using the excuse of CAMPA let Mr Javdekar not disturb our prime forest areas , since they are irreplaceable.
                                Reply
                                1. V
                                  Vijay
                                  Jul 29, 2015 at 2:09 pm
                                  Net time when Ambanis and Adanis steal money and national et with help of Bhakt team , dont call them Looting, call it "Wealth Generation"
                                  Reply
                                  1. P
                                    PREMILA
                                    Jul 29, 2015 at 5:10 pm
                                    I humbly submit the following with regard to replacing the word “Diversion” by “Reforestation”: a) Compensatory Afforestation (CA) is taken up in two ways. First, CA on non forest land equal to the forest area diverted. Many times, non forest land provided for CA is not contiguous with the existing forests resulting to fragmentation of forests and CA on non forest are seldom declared as reserved forests etc and provide adequate protection. We are losing our biodiversity in the natural forests. b) Second, CA in degraded forest land-double of the forest land diverted. In many cases non-forest lands are not provided and CA is taken up on degraded forest over the double of the forest land diverted. Usually, User Agencies opt this 2nd option because paying double the cost of CA is easier than acquiring non-forest land for CA. In this case, the state/country loses extend of land recorded as forest for every case of diversion. c) If diversion of forest land is to be encouraged with a new terminology “Reforestation”, shall the country gain area under forest cover (targeting 33% as per National Forest Policy) and biodiversity when large chunk of natural forest (or the entire forest cover) is diverted just for the sake of Compensatory Afforestation (or cleared for reforestation as suggested)? d) If Compensatory Afforestation (CA) is taken up on equal non-forest area, correct terminology is Afforestation. But, let us remember that man made forest through Afforestation can never equate to natural forests in terms of biodiversity. I don’t agree at all with replacing the word “Diversion” by “Reforestation”. Kindly comment!
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Sanjay Bhattacharya
                                      Jul 29, 2015 at 8:02 am
                                      Congress changed 120 year old land bill and ped hurriedly new land bill in 2013 to win election in 2014 but people saw through their designs and dumped this corrupt party for ever. Now the question is should 'we do development or not?' Obviously development is a must to employ millions of unemplo youths. Eating leaves and fruits from forests will take us back to stone age. How to do development if land cannot be acquired? We must make a balance . This is exactly what Javadekar is speaking of. Some readers who apparently are not applying their brains are thinking otherwise.
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        Sanjay Bhattacharya
                                        Jul 29, 2015 at 12:17 pm
                                        I have already mentioned about you in my letter in the last line.
                                        Reply
                                        1. S
                                          Sanjay Bhattacharya
                                          Jul 29, 2015 at 9:19 pm
                                          Congress changed 120 year old land bill and ped hurriedly new land bill in 2013 to win election in 2014 but people saw through their designs and dumped this corrupt party for ever. Now the question is should 'we do development or not?' Obviously development is a must to employ millions of unemplo youths. Eating leaves and fruits from forests will take us back to stone age. How to do development if land cannot be acquired? We must make a balance . This is exactly what Javadekar is speaking of. Some readers who apparently are not applying their brains are thinking otherwise.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            SAJ
                                            Jul 29, 2015 at 3:47 pm
                                            Well, it was about time they released a new edition of Newspeak. :P
                                            Reply
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