Bihar Government recently issued order banning felling of trees in the state, citing reason of increasing pollution as well as a fatal heatwave in Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and other cities in the state. The order was passed under Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and is valid only for Government-owned properties and not for people who privately own a tree. With this, all permissions granted to cut trees for development works, have become null and void. Henceforth, anybody wanting to remove a tree for any development project will have to translocate it. State Public Works Department also has been asked not to cut trees while building or expanding roads.
Pollution in Bihar is increasing at an alarming rate and most cities in the sate are ranked in the list of World’s most polluted cities. These cities are Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Bhagalpur. Patna which holds 7th position, Muzaffarpur 13th position, Gaya holds the 18th position on the world’s most polluted list. State Government’s decision to ban felling of trees could have been reaction to indiscriminate felling of big, old trees in Capital Patna during last few years for the construction of roads and buildings. Another reason was severe heatwave this year, which killed 90 people in Gaya, Aurangabad and Nawada districts of state besides rendering many others sick. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly announced that his government will increase green cover in the state to 17%. Till now, Bihar Government was able to increase its green cover from seven to 15% under the Green Mission.