The ‘India State of Forests 2017’ report released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) showed that the forest cover in the country had improved overall. The good news is, India is among top 10 nations in the world in terms of forest cover. It is a phenomenal achievement as none of the other 9 countries in top 10 have a population density higher than 150 persons per sq kilometre (India’s population density is 328 persons per sq kilometre).
The report suggested that forest cover had risen by 8,021 sq km compared to the previous assessment in 2015. The survey relied on satellite images and analysis for finding the extent of forest cover.
Karnataka is number 2 in state wise rise in forest cover, Siddaramiah claims credit
The top three states in rise of forest cover were Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km), Karnataka (1101 sq km) and Kerala (1043 sq km). The Karnataka CM claimed credit for this achievement and praised his forest officials of the state on Twitter.
Karnataka’s forests grow by 1101 sq km making it the state to record 2nd highest growth rate of forests in the country. 3 South Indian States Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Kerala account for 63% of the growth in forests
I am proud of the excellence in Governance in our Forest Dept pic.twitter.com/AcKlum167O
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) February 13, 2018
Karnataka’s principal conservator of forests says LPG scheme helped in rising forest cover
However, the forest officials had a different story to tell. They said that LPG schemes of the government (i.e. Ujjwala scheme) had played a key role in the increase of forest cover in the periphery of forest areas.
The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Punati Sridhar told The Hindu: “We have seen that schemes of giving LPG connections to those living close to the forests has lead to the rejuvenation of tree cover in nearby hills…In areas such as Bengaluru, more than 8 lakh seedlings of melia dubia have been distributed. Perhaps, these schemes are yielding efforts outside forest areas.”
Thus it appears that the Ujjwala scheme of Modi government is having many tertiary benefits for rural poor and environmental conservation. Karnataka CM is also trying to cut into Modi’s popularity by launching a LPG scheme of his own called ‘Anila Bhagya‘ without concurrence from central government. The Chief Minister of Karnataka seems to be eager to claim credit for the work done by Narendra Modi government.