New Delhi: The government has accorded approvals for use of around 1.25 lakh hectares of forest land for various development projects during the last three years, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
"The government grants prior approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 to use forest land for the purpose of various development projects.
"During the last three years including the current year, the central government has accorded approvals over 1,24,133 hectare of forest land for such development activities," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar informed the Lok Sabha.
He said that forest areas for such activities are approved by the central government under section 2 (ii) of the forest conservation act 1980 with adequate environmental safeguards and afforestation measures in lieu of forest land proposed to be utilized for development activities.
"During the last two years and the current year, an area of about 78,301 ha has been prescribed for compensatory afforestation as part of environmental safeguards," the minister said.
Replying to another question, Javadekar said that ten lions have been reportedly died due to excessive rain and flood recently in Bhavnagar and Amreli districts of Gujarat.
The number of Asiatic lion has increased from 411 in 2010 to 523 in 2015 in Gir Forest National park and nearby habitats of Gujarat, the Minister said.
He said that the matter of translocation of a few Asiatic lions to Madhya Pradesh from Gir National Park area was considered by the Supreme Court and the matter is subjudice.