DEHRADUN: Union Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change has pulled up the state government over its new definition of ‘Deemed Forest,’ saying that the states and Union Territories should not issue any communication violative of Supreme Court directions.
It said, according to the apex court order, the Forest Conservation Act 1980 will be applicable to areas recorded as forest in any government record and any other area that has been considered to conform to the dictionary meaning of forest.
Last month, the Uttarakhand government had framed a new definition of ‘deemed forests’ as a land patch of 10 hectare or above with 60 per cent canopy density and 75 per cent native plant species. A letter by state forest department on November 19 said that a land patch of 10 hectare or above with 60 per cent canopy density and 75 per cent native plant species will be considered as deemed forests other than notified ones.
The move came after Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change on November 14 said that states should decide their own definition of forest and Centre had nothing to do with it. Interestingly, the letter says that criteria regarding ‘forest’ finalized by a state “need not be subject to approval of MoEF&CC”.