Hyderabad: Although the new forest policy takes into account climate change, deforestation, rain water harvesting and other sustainable measures for the environment, it is yet to address forest communities, diversion of forest land for mining and other such issues. Nearly 135 hectares of forest land has been illegally used for development projects.
Forest officials say that some clauses in the policy regarding forest fires, catchment areas and wildlife will make a welcome difference after 30 years of inaction.
Uday Kumar, an environmentalist said, “We should talk about forest land that is being used for mining projects that is taking a toll on the nearby forest areas.
Unless we work on our existing forest cover, it is impossible to meet the policy goals. It is good to promote urban greening and water recycling among other much needed steps, but we should work on these goals rather than restraining it just on paper.”
The draft policy states that there has been an increase in forest cover despite increasing population, urbanisation and industrialisation. However, the low quality and low productivity, intensifying water and air pollution and increasing water crisis demanded a new forest policy.
“Forest fires will be focused on in the new policy by mapping vulnerable areas, implementing remote sensing technology and community participation. The increasing illegal trade in wildlife products has also been noticed. As stated in the policy, we need stronger detection, investigation and prosecution capacity along with the technical support of forensic laboratories,” said a wildlife officer.
Trans borders will also be strengthened to ensure safety of wildlife. The need to increase employment in the forest based industry sector was also noted.