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Modi Govt Has Cut More Than One Crore Trees In Last Five Years

The highest number of trees — 26.9 lakhs — were felled during 2018-19.

The Environment Ministry reportedly permitted the cutting of over one crore trees in the last five years for development work.

Responding to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State (MoS) for Environment Babul Supriyo said that the Ministry permitted the felling of 1.09 crore trees for development purposes between 2014 and 2019. The highest number of trees — 26.9 lakhs — were felled during 2018-19.

According to the ministry data, 23.3 lakh trees were cut in 2014-15, 16.9 lakh in 2015-16, 17.01 lakh in 2016-17 and 25.5 lakh in 2017-18. Supriyo, however, said that his Ministry does not maintain data on trees destroyed in forest fires. “Trees are felled for various development purposes with the permission of competent authorities in accordance with the procedure laid down in various Acts. However, the Ministry does not maintain data regarding the cutting of trees due to forest fire,” Supriyo said.

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Supriyo said that a sum of Rs 237.07 crore had been released in the last four years to 12 states under the Green India Mission for afforestation in an area of 87113.86 hectares and providing alternative energy devices to 56,319 households. He also added that Under National Afforestation Programme, an amount of Rs. 328.90 crore has been released to the states to treat new area of 94,828 hectares during the last four years (2015-16 to 2018-19).

The Congress attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government, saying that the “BJP is destroying our future”. “Trees are ‘life’. Trees are ‘oxygen’. Tress absorb ‘carbon dioxide’. Trees protect the ‘environment’. Modi Govt has cut a whopping 1,09,75,844 trees in the past five years! (Parliamentary Reply),” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote on Twitter.

Surjewala’s comments about oxygen also come at a time when BJP leaders have been caught peddling pseudoscience on the same. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat recently kicked up a row by claiming that the cow is the only animal which inhales and exhales oxygen. A video went viral on Thursday showing Rawat extolling the medicinal properties of cow milk and urine at a function here. In the video, he said cows not only inhale oxygen but also exhale it. The Chief Minister also said that massaging a cow can cure breathing problems while living near the animal can cure one of tuberculosis.

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