New Delhi: In spite of rapid urbanisation, the government today said that Delhi has the largest forest cover out of three metropolitan cities while the country’s green cover is over 23 per cent.
As per the masterplan of the city provided by Urban Development Ministry, Delhi has 180 sq kms of green cover.
The country’s financial capital Mumbai has the second largest forest cover while Chennai has the lowest green cover as per the government data. The data for Kolkata was not available.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha that as per India State of Forest Report 2013, the total forest area of the country is 771,821 sq km which works out as 23.48 per cent of the total geographical area of the country.
“As per the information provided by the Ministry of Urban Development, the forest cover of metropolitan cities as per Master Plan of the city is concerned is Mumbai 86.57 sq km, Delhi 180 sq kms and Chennai 24 sq kms,” Mr Javadekar said.
Bengaluru has 97 sq kms, Hyderabad has 88.4 sq kms, Jaipur region has 74.47 sq kms, and Chandigarh 34.4 sq km area under forest cover, the data said.
The Environment Minister said that his ministry has not received any report that forestland is decreasing at a fast pace in and around metropolitan cities.
He said that the Forest Survey of India, Dehradun has been carrying out mapping and assessment of forest resources in the country biennially since 1987 and the India State of Forest Report 2013 is the latest report published by it which contains information regarding forest cover in all states and Union Territories (UTs).
He said that the management and protection of forest is primarily the responsibility of concerned states and UTs but there are central acts such as India Forest Act 1927, Forest (conservation) Act 1980 and state acts and rules to deal with issues related to protection and management of forest areas.
He added that there is no specific proposal to amend the Forest (Act) 1980. He said that there is no proposal to open data base centres at central level for monitoring forest area.