Most cases of forest encroachment in Maharashtra in 2017 were reported from Mumbai Metropolitan Region, data from the state forest department showed.(HT File photo)
Most cases of forest encroachment in Maharashtra in 2017 were reported from Mumbai Metropolitan Region, data from the state forest department showed.(HT File photo)

Maharashtra has lost forest land bigger than the size of Mumbai to encroachers

With 49,463 cases from Thane spread across 973 hectares, and 33,850 cases from Mumbai spread across 6,170 hectares, the two districts had the highest number of cases in Maharashtra.
By Badri Chatterjee | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2018 10:37 AM IST

Maharashtra ranks fifth among states that have lost maximum forest areas to encroachers. Of the state’s 61,579 square kilometre (sq km) of forests, which is a fifth of its geographical area, encroachers have taken over 670sq km — more than the area of Greater Mumbai, which is 603sq km.

The data on forest encroachments was submitted by the Union environment ministry in Rajya Sabha last month.

Nationally, encroachments cover 13,612sq km of nearly 7,64,000-lakh sq km forest cover – 23% of the country’s land. The forest area encroached nationally is roughly 10 times the size of New Delhi (1,400sq km).

Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka and Odisha have the largest stretches of encroached forest lands, followed by Maharashtra.

Diversion of land for cultivation and other purposes continues to be the most serious threat to forests. The conversion of forests to farms and other uses leads to biodiversity loss and man-animal conflicts, thereby altering the natural balance, said experts.

Read more | Maharashtra to involve coastal villages protect state’s mangrove forests

“Our idea has always been zero tolerance to encroachment. However, we are facing three main concerns when it comes to this issue in Maharashtra – increasing agricultural practices by tribal settlements, construction of religious structures, and increasing urbanisation near tier I and II cities.

“This is not only eating into the habitat of animals but changing the natural biodiversity of forests,” said Shailesh Tembhurnikar, additional principal chief conservator of forest (conservation), Maharashtra forest department, in-charge of encroachment removal in the state.

Most cases of forest encroachment in Maharashtra in 2017 was reported from Mumbai Metropolitan Region, data from the state forest department showed.

With 49,463 cases from Thane spread across 973 hectares, and 33,850 cases from Mumbai spread across 6,170 hectares, the two districts had the highest number of cases in the state.

However, area wise, the maximum encroachments were from Dhule with 15,076 cases spread across 207 sqkm, followed by Gadchiroli with 8,969 cases spread across 103 sq km. The data on forest encroachments was submitted by the Union environment ministry in the Rajya Sabha in December, 2017.

Environmentalists said that encroachments cut forest corridors that animals use to move from one forest area to another.

“There needs to be a detailed study about the forms of encroachment across different forest areas in India. We are fast losing protected spaces and wildlife habitats. Encroachments around rivers will affect the river flow for years. It is our responsibility to preserve what remains of these areas,” said Ravi Singh, secretary general and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (India). “The forest department and the political leadership are fighting this issue but efforts need to be escalated,” he said.

Read more | 13.5 hectares of mangroves in Mumbai to be free of encroachment by May 2018

The environment ministry blamed states for not protecting forest areas. “It is the responsibility of states governments to ensure forest encroachments are removed at the earliest,” said an official from the ministry.

State forest departments said that claims to land under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) pose as the main hurdle in clearing encroachments.

Virendra Tiwari, chief conservator of forest, Maharashtra, said the FRA allowed tribal communities and villages within protected forests to carry out agricultural practices.

“Prior to this, the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, did not allow any encroachment,” said Tiwari. He added that most encroachments are from the time before FRA came into existence. “There are several cases where the FRA is being manipulated. The entire process to hear claims is extremely lengthy,” he said.

Last month, the state forest department headquarters in Nagpur issued orders to the chief conservator of forests in every district to create a list of encroachments in their jurisdiction. “The idea is to document the number of encroachments on a year-on-year basis and ensure their speedy removal,” said Shailesh Tembhurnikar, additional principal chief conservator of forest (conservation) who is in-charge of encroachment removal in the state.

“We are in the process of building a stronger network not only to remove encroachments, but also to fight wildlife crimes,” said the official from the ministry.

In Mumbai, where human settlements are closing in on the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, work is under way to create a boundary wall around the forest. “Similar plans have been devised for forest areas around Pune and Nagpur,” said Tiwari, adding that this will also control the proliferation of religious shrines that become footholds for new settlements.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
A health worker takes a swab sample in Thane. For the first time since the vaccination drive began in Thane, the number of immunisations crossed 102 % on Saturday. (Praful Gangurde/HT photo)(HT_PRINT)
A health worker takes a swab sample in Thane. For the first time since the vaccination drive began in Thane, the number of immunisations crossed 102 % on Saturday. (Praful Gangurde/HT photo)(HT_PRINT)

Maharashtra: Thane records 260 fresh Covid-19 cases, two more fatalities

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:08 AM IST
The Covid-19 count in Thane district of Maharashtra reached 2,52,723 with 260 new cases, while two more fatalities pushed the death toll to 6,140, an official said on Thursday.
Close
Farmers protest during a tractor rally at the Inner Ring Road in New Delhi, India, on January 26, 2021. (Bloomberg)
Farmers protest during a tractor rally at the Inner Ring Road in New Delhi, India, on January 26, 2021. (Bloomberg)

Farm stir: Jan 26 violence a conspiracy, says SAD; demands international inquiry

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Harshit Sabarwal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:11 AM IST
The protesting farmers earlier said that ‘anti-social’ elements had orchestrated the violence in Delhi in order to hijack their peaceful protests against the three farm laws- which were passed by Parliament in September.
Close
The Supreme Court. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
The Supreme Court. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

SC asks Centre to fix timeline for judicial appointments: All you need to know

By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:07 AM IST
The court said there were 189 proposals regarding appointments pending with the government as on December 31
Close
People walk across a footbridge as snowclad Zabarwan mountains are seen in the backdrop, after a heavy snowfall, in Srinagar, earlier this month. (File photo)
People walk across a footbridge as snowclad Zabarwan mountains are seen in the backdrop, after a heavy snowfall, in Srinagar, earlier this month. (File photo)

Cold wave keeps grip on Kashmir; Srinagar records -5.6°C

By Mir Ehsan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:04 AM IST
The India Meteorological Department has predicted another spell of snowfall in Kashmir in the first week of Febuary
Close
Farmer unions said the agitation at Singhu, Tikri and other border areas of the national capital will continue.(PTI Photo )
Farmer unions said the agitation at Singhu, Tikri and other border areas of the national capital will continue.(PTI Photo )

Delhi Police issue notice to 20 farmer leaders, ask them to reply within 3 days

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:55 AM IST
Earlier on Wednesday, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Chinmoy Biswal had sent a notice to Sanyukt Kisan Morcha Darshan Pal asking him why action should not be taken against him and his allies.
Close
Home Minister Amit Shah will visit injured policemen today. (PTI file)
Home Minister Amit Shah will visit injured policemen today. (PTI file)

Republic Day violence: Amit Shah to visit injured police officers today

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:59 AM IST
Delhi Police claimed to have handled the sudden violence with restraint averting a major law and order situation in the Capital on Republic Day.
Close
Representational Image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational Image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Conmen defrauding people through online dating apps, warns Interpol

By Neeraj Chauhan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:27 AM IST
The CBI, which is the nodal agency of Interpol in India, will alert the states about Interpol’s Purple Notice for awareness about the online dating scam
Close
Active Covid-19 cases in country stand at 1,73,740, while 1,03,73,606 people have recovered from the disease, Union health ministry said.(PTI)
Active Covid-19 cases in country stand at 1,73,740, while 1,03,73,606 people have recovered from the disease, Union health ministry said.(PTI)

70% of India's Covid-19 cases from Maharashtra, Kerala: Harsh Vardhan

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Susmita Pakrasi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:45 AM IST
  • Harsh Vardhan said that 147 districts in the nation have not seen a case of Covid-19 in last 7 days.
Close
The couple were forced to organise a community feast as well. (Representational Image)
The couple were forced to organise a community feast as well. (Representational Image)

Odisha couple forced to perform symbolic last rites of son with rare disorder

By Debabrata Mohanty
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:15 AM IST
The boy suffers from giant congenital melanocytic nevi that caused hairy growth on his face, chest and right hand
Close
Students undergo thermal screening in Kanyakumari.(PTI)
Students undergo thermal screening in Kanyakumari.(PTI)

India reports 11,666 new cases in 24 hours, active cases below 1.74 lakh

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:19 AM IST
147 districts in the country reported no new Covid-19 case in the last seven days.
Close
Farmers protest during a tractor rally near the Singhu border crossing in Delhi,(Bloomberg)
Farmers protest during a tractor rally near the Singhu border crossing in Delhi,(Bloomberg)

Farmers' protest: NH-24, route connecting Delhi with Ghaziabad opened

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Susmita Pakrasi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:46 AM IST
  • Announcing the decision to end the protest, BKU (Bhanu) president Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh told reporters that he was deeply pained by whatever happened during the tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day.
Close
Representational Image. (HT file)
Representational Image. (HT file)

Uttar Pradesh to complete Covid vaccination of health workers by Feb 5

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sameer
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 09:18 AM IST
The state recorded 173 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday while 333 patients were discharged from hospitals. It has 6,368 active cases. With four more deaths, the toll from the pandemic in the state rose to 8,636
Close
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was speaking on Ram Temple at Gorakhpur on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was speaking on Ram Temple at Gorakhpur on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

Yogi Adityanath calls for generous donations for Ayodhya Ram temple construction

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 09:01 AM IST
  • The Gorakhpur temple trust has donated 50 lakh and 51 lakh has been donated by Gorakhnath temple in Devipatan, said a spokesperson of the Goraknath temple trust.
Close
Representational image. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)
Representational image. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)

Island tourism, deep-sea mining highlights of India’s Blue Economy policy

By Jayashree Nandi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 08:58 AM IST
The highlights of the policy include an accounting framework to assess the growth of the blue economy; mapping of India’s coastal zones for integrated coastal and marine spatial plans
Close
Dense fog rolls on to National Highway-24(NH24) in New Delhi on January 14. Cold wave conditions are expected to continue in Delhi-NCR for at least the next four days, according to scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while pollution levels are likely to further worsen and may even reach the “severe” zone in the coming days.(Raj K Raj / HT Photo)
Dense fog rolls on to National Highway-24(NH24) in New Delhi on January 14. Cold wave conditions are expected to continue in Delhi-NCR for at least the next four days, according to scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while pollution levels are likely to further worsen and may even reach the “severe” zone in the coming days.(Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

News updates from HT: Cold wave likely to persist over northwest India

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 08:52 AM IST
  • Here are today’s top news, analysis and opinion at 9 AM. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP