Pollution

Bihar bans tree-felling

Government cites increasing pollution and heatwave in the state as reason for the ban

 
By Mohd Imran Khan
Last Updated: Thursday 20 June 2019
The famous Gandhi Maidan in Patna. Photo: Getty Images
The famous Gandhi Maidan in Patna. Photo: Getty Images The famous Gandhi Maidan in Patna. Photo: Getty Images

The Government of Bihar recently banned felling of trees, citing increasing pollution as well as a fatal heatwave.

Trees on private land, however, can be felled in the absence of a tree-protection Act in Bihar.

The current order was passed under the Forest Conservation Act, DK Shukla, principal chief conservator of forests, told Down To Earth (DTE). "All permissions granted to cut trees for development works, have become null and void,” he said.

The order, put forward by Deepak Kumar (principal secretary, department of environment, forest and climate change) in May, cited increasing pollution in Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and other cities in the state.

“Another reason was the severe heatwave, which killed 90 people in Gaya, Aurangabad and Nawada districts besides rendering many others sick,” Shukla said.

The government’s decision could have been a reaction to the indiscriminate felling of big, old trees in Capital Patna during the last few years for the construction of roads and buildings, an official told DTE. On the busy Bailey Road, in the heart of Patna, more than 2,200 trees have been chopped in the last two- and-a-half years, according to official data.

Changes

Anybody who would now want to remove a tree for any development project would have to translocate it. Engineers have been asked not to cut trees while building or expanding roads.

The forest department has also expressed its displeasure over filling roots of trees with concrete on roads in various towns.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly announced that his government will increase green cover in the state to 17 per cent. Till now, Bihar has been able to increase its green cover from seven to 15 per cent under the Green Mission.

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