Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on Saturday said a document uploaded on its Web site as Draft National Forest Policy was in fact not a draft policy at all.
The document prepared by the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, titled National Forest Policy, 2016, was uploaded on the Ministry’s Web site along with an office memorandum calling for comments on June 16.
“The Ministry is in the process of revising the present National Forest Policy, 1988. A draft National Forest Policy in this regard has been prepared and enclosed. All stakeholders are requested to send their comments, if any, by email latest by June 30, 2016,” the official memorandum signed by AK Mohanty, Deputy Inspector General of Forests (Forest Policy) said.
However, on Saturday the Ministry issued a statement by SS Negi, Director-General, Forests and Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, denying that it was the draft policy.
“The Ministry has not issued any draft notification on National Forest Policy. What has been uploaded on the Web site was a study done by Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal. The study has not been evaluated by the Ministry. The Ministry has not taken any decision on Draft Forest Policy. The study report prepared by IIFM Bhopal was inadvertently uploaded as Draft Forest Policy on the Web site,” the statement said.
The document uploaded on the Ministry’s Web site has received a lot of criticism on multiple counts — such as diluting and ignoring forest rights, promoting private timbre plantations and others.