Chhattisgarh to allow felling on revenue land

chhattisgarh is framing a new law that will allow trees on revenue land to be felled. The law, called the Lok Vaniki Adhiniyam, will be introduced in the cabinet very soon.

According to a survey by the Indian Forest Conservation Organisation, Chhattisgarh has 75 million trees on revenue land and about 63 million sq m wood lies unused. According to sections 240 and 241 of the Land Revenue Act, the collector has the right to give permission to cut trees on revenue land. But because of malik makbuja (an Urdu term meaning possessed by the owner), collectors are not allowing farmers to cut trees.

The malik makbuja refers to the right of peasants to cut trees on their own land.Created to safeguard the interests of adivasis, the mp Protection of Scheduled Tribes (Interest in Trees) Act 1956-1957 requires the supervision of the sale of felled trees by the collector, with the sale money being deposited in a joint account. Agents soon took over the process by offering to help adivasis with complex paperwork involved, only to cheat them. Merchants bought land in order to fell trees. Since land alienation laws restrict purchase of tribal land by non-tribals, timber merchants usually targeted the lands of poor non-tribals.

The Lok Vaniki Adhiniyam will require applicants to give a report for felling trees. The applicant will have to divulge in how many stages trees will be cut. All the trees will not be allowed to cut at one go. Besides, on cutting two trees, it'll be mandatory to plant at least five plants.