Government woes

Two state governments protest against a Supreme Court ban on forest produce

Published: Sunday 15 February 1998

Following the Supreme Court interim ban on transportation of forest produce from the north-east, Assam has lost around Rs 78 crore and Arunachal Pradesh, Rs 85 crore. For Assam, the revenue in territorial forest alone has come down from Rs 161,772,000 in 1995-96 to Rs 118,211,000 in 1996-97.

In their petitions to the apex court, the two governments have challenged the findings of the High Power Committee (hpc). Headed by T V Rajeswar Rao, the hpc has already submitted three reports to the Supreme Court. The state governments say that although the third report of the committee has been submitted, the apex court has not passed any order.

The petitioners claim that the first report of the committee suggested that the felled trees be moved to godowns. This is yet to be implemented.

Significantly, the Supreme Court on January 21, issued a series of directions for the disposal of felled timber which has been lying in the northeastern states for varying periods of time between one to two years.

In view of the dependence of the local people on the forest resources in the region "it is neither feasible, nor desirable to ban completely either the timber trade or running of the wood based industries," the bench said

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