Hyderabad: Telangana cut over 12 lakh trees from 2016 to 2018, the largest number of trees cut in any state for development projects under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, according to data furnished by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

In response to a Lok Sabha question, minister of state for environment, forest and climate change Babul Supriyo said, “In the last three years 76,72,337 trees were cut and more than 7,87,00,000 trees planted under compensatory afforestation throughout the country.”

In 2016, Telangana felled a total of 32,407 trees. The number increased to 6,58,104 in 2017 and in 2018 it was 5,22,242 trees. Maharashtra, which cut 10,73,484 trees during the specified time period, was next, followed by Madhya Pradesh, which felled 9,54,767 trees.

Interestingly, Chandigarh, Nagaland, and some Union territories such as Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Jammu & Kashmir, and Pondicherry did not cut down any trees in the three years between 2016-18. Tripura also recorded low numbers with only 583 trees felled during the period.

Under FCA, states and Union territories are allowed to cut trees only for unavoidable developmental projects and it should also ensure that a minimum number of trees are cut, said Mr Supriyo.

Forest land affected by forest fire

Mr Supriyo also said that around 93,273 of land was affected by the forest fire in 2019. He said that the Forest Survey of India, Dehradun, tracks forest fires through real-time satellite-based images and alerts forest departments of various states and Union territories.

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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