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Exempted from felling/transit permit if grown on non-forest areas
LS passes bill exempting bamboo grown on non-forest land from ‘felling permit’, December 21, 2017: The Times of India
The Lok Sabha passed a bill which provides for exempting bamboo grown on non-forest areas from the requirement of felling/transit permit — a move which will encourage bamboo plantation by farmers and help enhance their earnings.
The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017, replacing an ordinance, was, passed amid a protest by opposition members against the promulgation of the ordinance.
Before this amendment, bamboo though taxonomically a grass was legally defined as a 'tree' under the Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1927 and therefore, attracts requirement of transit permit under the law even if it was grown on private land. Since getting such permit is quite a cumbersome process, it has been identified as a major impediment for cultivation of bamboo by farmers on non-forest land.
"Had the legislative changes been made earlier, it would have benefited the country's economy," environment minister Harsh Vardhan said in the Lok Sabha.
Bamboo, the minister said, also found mention in 'Arthasharta' and was described as green gold as well as poor man's timber. India imports bamboo despite being its second largest producer after China and this is the reason for brining the amendment, he said, adding that the ordinance was not promulgated in a hurry and that it had been in the making since 2013.
Several opposition members, including N K Premachandran of RSP, objected to the promulgation of the ordinance, saying it amounted to bypassing Parliament. Premachandran wanted to know what urgency prompted the government to bring an ordinance on November 23, weeks before the winter session of Parliament.
BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab had even opposed the introduction of the bill on Monday, alleging that the government was trying to protect traders and undermining the interest of states.
Raising the objection, Mahtab said, "In the north-east and even in Odisha we have paper-producing plants. There are certain states which do not have bamboo at all. For that the respective state government needs to give permission. How can you withdraw the permission from the states?