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Nagpur: Union minister Bhupender Yadav told the Lok Sabha on Monday that around 3.1 million trees were cut during 2020-21 across India for infrastructure projects.

In response to BJP’s Kirit Premjibhai Solanki’s question, Yadav said Rs 359 crores were also spent on compensatory afforestation in the same year. While answering the question, Yadav said, “The permission for tree felling is accorded by the respective state governments/union territory administrations under the provisions of various Acts, rules, guidelines and directions of courts. However, during 2020-21, proposals involving 30,97,721 number of trees have been accorded prior approval under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 by the ministry.”

He further said that over 36 million seedlings were planted as a part of compensatory afforestation that cost around Rs 358.87 crore and claimed that not a single tree was cute for developmental projects in Delhi during 2020-21. “53,000 seedlings were planted under the compensatory afforestation at the cost of Rs 97 lakhs in the city,” he said.

Maximum trees were cut down in Madhya Pradesh (16,40,532), followed by Uttar Pradesh (3,11,998) and Odisha (2,23,375). The maximum money for afforestation was spent in Gujarat ( ₹52 crore), followed by Uttarakhand ( ₹48.2 crore) and Haryana ( ₹45 crore).

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