State Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel on Wednesday said that the forest cover in Gujarat has grown by five percent, according to Forest Survey of India (FSI) data even as the FSI India Forest Report of 2003, 2005 and 2009 has shown otherwise. According to FSI reports, there has been a decline in forest cover by 0.1 per cent.
In 2003, 2005 and 2009, Gujarat’s total forest area was reported to be 19113 sq km, 18692 sq km and 18927 sq km respectively, in FSI’s official website.
Patel, even after being repeatedly requested to quote the exact figure of the increase in the forest cover, failed to present the exact figures.
Patel was addressing a gathering held to announce the launch of the 62nd Vanmahotsav on July 31.
On the encroachment of forest land by Essar near Hazira, he said: “We have send a proposal to the Centre to regularise the encroachment by charging fine from the company. “There is nothing wrong in giving forest land for public purposes and cutting trees for development,’’ Patel said, while talking about the diversion of reserve and protected forest land in the state in the last few years.