the fund-starved Himachal Pradesh government has decided to lift the 16-year ban on felling of green trees. This move is expected to bring in additional revenue to the tune of Rs 40 crore for the government. The decision was taken at December's cabinet meeting but there was no mention of it at the press briefing after the meeting.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-Himachal Vikas Congress combine was reportedly under pressure from the mafia to lift the restrictions.
Principal chief conservator of forest S K Pandey claimed that the Supreme Court and the Union government had given the go-ahead for the move, adding that the cutting down of trees would be done by the State Forest Corporation using scientific methods.
The government was already underfire for denotifying a huge chunk of the Great Himalayan National Park to facilitate the construction of the Parbati Hydro-electric project and also permitting the setting up of cement plants in green areas.
The process, to be first taken up in pine forests, is expected to begin in February.
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