AS MUCH as 0.30 hectares of Chandigarh forest land was diverted for non-forestry purpose in the last four years in Chandigarh, said a detailed 2019 report of the Forest Survey of India (FSI).
The FSI report, which was released Monday, states, “The recorded Forest Area (RFA) in the Union Territory is 35 sq km of which 32 sq km is Reserved Forest and 3 sq km is Unclassed Forest. In Chandigarh, during the period January 1, 2015 to February 5, 2019, a total of 0.39 hectares of forest land was diverted for non-forestry purposes under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.”
Sources said non-forestry purposes meant works not related with forest and plantation of trees. The forest land was diverted for these purposes with the due permission of the UT forest department. “Indeed, we diverted the forest land for non-forestry purposes. These purposes included the development projects for the city. Projects included the construction of railway under bridge, laying of LPG gas pipeline throughout the city, and installation of other projects. We only diverted the forest land after visiting and detailed survey of specific location. But at the same, plantations were done at the double area of total diverted land in Chandigarh. The plantation always happened before the diversion of land. The diverted forest land is situated in different locations,” said Abdul Qayum, Deputy Conservator of Forest, UT.
The FSI report further states that Chandigarh belongs to one Forest Type Group “Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest”, which is further divided into two Forest Types.
The report concluded that the tree cover in Chandigarh increased by 15 sq km and forest cover increased by 0.47 sq km in 2019 from 2017.
The UT forest department had interpreted it on Tuesday, claiming that the total green cover of Chandigarh has enhanced from 41 per cent to 46 per cent in in 2019.
The FSI has contributed the UT administration’s Forest department’s initiative ‘Forest department at your doorsteps’ for the increase green cover in Chandigarh.