Just a day before listing of two cases pertaining to felling of 'khair' (Acacia Catechu) trees in Himachal Pradesh in the Supreme Court, the state government on Tuesday sought to waive the condition of their felling out of the purview of the 10-year felling programme to give relief to the farmers.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu said, "If the verdict of the Supreme Court goes in favour of the state government, it will give much-needed relief to the farmers as the permission of the forest department will no longer be mandatory for felling khair trees."
The farmers will be able to axe them as per their convenience and for monetary gain, an official statement quoting Sukhu said.
As 'katha', a useful ingredient for making various medicines, is extracted from the khair wood, the government feels silviculture felling of khair wood is better for forest management and rejuvenation, besides revenue generation.
Earlier, a committee was also constituted to recommend on this issue as to how khair could be taken out of the ambit of the 10-year felling programme and to relax the provisions of the Land Preservation Act in favour of the farmers.
It has submitted the report to the court and it is likely to be taken into consideration, the Chief Minister said.
In a similar case, the state government is also likely to seek permission for felling of khair trees on government-owned forest lands across the state.
The forest department is of the opinion that felling of khair trees should be allowed for the rejuvenation of the government forests because of its rejuvenation property.
The Supreme Court had allowed the felling of khair trees in 2018 on an experiment basis following a plea by the forest department.
Recently, a central empowered committee of the Supreme Court visited the areas where felling of khair trees was allowed by the apex court to get an idea about the results. The committee has submitted its findings to the court.
Khair is one of the components of agro-economy in the rural areas of Kangra, Una, Bilaspur, Sirmaur, Solan and Hamirpur districts.
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