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Protect existing trees first: Kiran Choudhry to BJP Govt

UNI India-English 2018-01-10 18:29:31
Chandigarh, Jan 10 (UNI) Haryana Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry on Wednesday asked the BJP government to first protect the existing forest cover in the state by stopping wanton pulling down of trees, especially in the Aravallis, by capricious elements before asking for more funds from the Centre to plant new ones.

In a statement here, the Minister took umbrage at the decision of the BJP government, led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, to request the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, to remove the existing cap of 10 per cent on withdrawal of more funds from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and allow expenditure on plantation of trees and forest management activities.

Contesting the decision taken at a meeting of CAMPA governing body chaired by the Chief Minister yesterday, Ms Choudhry asked, “Why ask for and spend more money on plantation of new trees when you can’t protect the existing ones from felling by vested interests in cohorts with the ruling class and the conniving bureaucracy? Had the government protected the existing tress, the forest cover would not have come down to a new low of 6.
65 per cent which should be 20 per cent as mandated by the National Forest Policy,” she added.

She reiterated her demand for an inquiry into the recent felling of 500 trees on two-acre land in the protected Mangar Bani area to expose and nail those responsible and make them face the law.