The Madhya Pradesh forest department’s decision to pave the way for collection of minor forest produce (MPF) in all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of the state has drawn flak from some conservationists. This is in gross violation of the Forest Conservation Act and Wildlife Protection Act, say some experts. The state forest department had initiated the move by seeking the state law department’s opinion in this regard in mid-1998.
As there was a divergence of opinion, the forest department authorities were asked to prepare a summary to be put up before the cabinet for its approval. Commenting on the state government’s move to open up all parks and sanctuaries for collection of MPF , wildlife experts said that tendu leaf collection was being allowed in all protected areas in the state except those parks and sanctuaries which had finally been notified and where the rights had been settled.
The last Environmental Status Report published by the state-run Environmental Planning and Coordination Organisation (EPCO) had put it on record that free access to forests for MPF collection, were sweeping the forest floor clean of regeneration.
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