‘NGOs’ support crucial to achieve afforestation target’


New Delhi : The support of the non-government sector is crucial in meeting the afforestation target envisaged by the government in the national forest policy, Minister of State for Environment and Forests S. Regupathy said Tuesday.

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He was delivering the inaugural address to a two-day conference of state forest secretaries here.

In the policy document, the government has targeted to bring the country’s 30 percent land area under forest and tree cover by 2012. That entails additional land requirement of 21.5 million hectares for planting trees, the minister said.

Spare land available in notified forest areas is just 15 percent of the total area required for achieving the afforestation target, he pointed out.

“Since almost 85 percent of the potential land for additional tree planting would fall outside the notified forestlands, the involvement of the non-government sector including private individuals is most crucial for achieving this target,” Regupathy said.

He also urged the state governments to suggest ways to simplify procedures for processing project proposals under the Forest Conservation Act as also measures to cut down on the time required in forwarding the compliance report to the central government regarding handing over possession of the forest land approved for diversion to the user agency.

He also urged the states to expedite implementation of the key recommendations made by the National Forest Commission for achieving the mandate of the national forest policy and sustainable development of forests.