Industry to be let in to harvest degraded forest land: Javadekar

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) The government will soon announce a scheme to allow private players to commercially harvest the degraded forest land under private-public partnership model, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.

“We have forest land where there are no forests. We have already formulated a scheme and it will be put on the ministry’s website soon,” Javadekar said on the sidelines of 10th Sustainability Summit organised by Confederation of Indian Industry here.

He said the degraded forest land, which account for one-third of forest area, would be given on lease and revenue-sharing basis to industrialists, who otherwise import wood, to harvest forests for commercial purpose.

However, he said, it would be mandatory to grow local tree species on 10 percent of such land for sustainability of flora and fauna.

The minister said the scheme would benefit the industry as their dependence on imported wood would be reduced and employment generated for the locals.

Javadekar said the land ownership would, however, remain with the government.

Addressing the summit, the minister said import of wood by India creates job in other countries.

“What happens when we import it (wood) is that we export jobs. This is something that needs to change,” he said.

Javadekar said sustainable development means that protection of environment and development move simultaneously.

“Protection of environment and development is possible simultaneously, they go hand-in-hand, they are not against each other and that is what sustainable development means,” he said.

The minister also urged the industrialists to infuse more funds into research and development to give way for sustainable practices.

“Indian industries must start investing more in research and development. Unless we research and come out with solutions we do not get the benefit. Industrial progress should be based on it,” he said.

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