The Environment Ministry permitted cutting of over 1 crore trees in the last five years for development work, it informed Parliament on Friday.
Responding to a question in Lok Sabha, MoS for Environment Babul Supriyo said the ministry gave permission to cut 1.09 crore trees for development purposes between 2014 and 2019.
Out of the total, the highest number of trees (26.91 lakh) were uprooted in 2018-19, he said.
Supriyo said data on trees destroyed in forest fires is not maintained by his ministry.
“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.
According to the ministry data, it gave permission to cut 23.3 lakh trees in 2014-15, 16.9 lakh in 2015-16, 17.01 lakh in 2016-17 and 25.5 lakh in 2017-18.
Supriyo added, a sum of Rs 237.07 crore has 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. 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), he said.