Hyderabad: According to the data released by the Telangana forest department, the state has a forest cover of 24.1 per cent, less than the minimum forest cover required under the National Forest Policy, which is 33 per cent.

The state additional principal chief conservator of forests, Mohan Chandra Pargaien, released the data on 22 July. "The area covered by reserved forests, not including outside forests, is 24.1 per cent, according to our latest survey," he told NewsMeter.

Other officials of the department said a rough percentage of outside forests in the state would be around four-five per cent which includes roadside plants, institutional forests, and more. This will bring the forest cover in the state to approximately 29 per cent. "If we include the outside forests that are part of universities, such as Osmania University and Hyderabad Central University, then the figures might go up marginally," Mr. Pargaien added.

District-wise, Karimnagar, Jogulamba Gadwal, and Hyderabad have the lowest reserved-forest cover of 0.2 per cent, 0.3 per cent, and 0.8 per cent, respectively. Regions with forest cover higher than the minimum requirement include Mulu, Bhadradri Kothagudam, and Komrambheem Asifabad with 71.9 per cent, 61 per cent, and 54.4 per cent, respectively.

New Project 2020 07 22t201547.381

New Project 2020 07 22t201609.388Source: Mohan Chandra Pargaien

Mr. Pargaien further said, "We started the Haritha Haram programme in 2015 with an intention to increase Telangana's forest cover from 24 per cent to 33 per cent, and we are doing well."

Forest officials said that since most of the plantation under Haritha Haram drive has been done in outside forest areas, an updated survey of the same will have to be conducted to figure out the increase in Telangana's green cover. They also added that there has been a definite improvement and with nearly 29 per cent forest cover Telangana is inching closer to its goal.

Priyali Dhingra

Priyali Dhingra is a post graduate in Communication Studies from Hyderabad Central University. She has previously worked as a photojournalist, editorial, and graphic design intern in The Indian Express, Newslaundry, and NDTV. Reigning from Delhi, she has an avid interest in photojournalism, and all things visual. She has also represented India as a delegate in the JENESYS 2019 Student Exchange Program with the Government of Japan. Having pursued her graduation in history from Delhi University, she was also a part of her college's theatre society. Her primary interests include: photography, poetry & politics.

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