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NGT Seeks Response From Authorities On ‘Substantial Loss’ Of Forest Cover In Manipur

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NEW DELHI, May 14: The National Green Tribunal has sought a response from the regional office of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change regarding the “substantial decrease” in forest cover in Manipur.

The NGT was hearing a matter where it had taken cognisance of a media report in that had quoted state chief minister N Biren Singh’s post on social media platform X.

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The minister was quoted as saying that the forest cover in the state has been reduced from 17,475 square kilometres (sq km)  in 1987 to 16,598 sq km in 2021, which showed a decrease of 877 sq km of forest cover.

A bench of NGT chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava and expert member A Senthil Vel took note of the report, according to which the decrease was primarily because of deforestation and opium poppy cultivation.

“The news item raises a substantial issue relating to compliance with environmental norms,” the bench said.

Underlining that the report pertained to “a substantial decrease” in the state’s forest area, the green panel impleaded as parties or respondents the Shillong integrated regional office (IRO) of the MOEF&CC and the regional director, Kolkata of the Forest Survey of India.

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“Let notice be issued to the above respondents for filing the response at least one week before the next date of hearing (on July 31),” the tribunal said in an order dated May 9.

It said the case had to be tagged with the pending larger matter of loss of forest land across the country. (PTI)

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