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Tree Cutting in forest of Sector 91 Noida

Save the forest and trees – Make food court and walking tracks in Aushadhi Park in Sector 91


Some 20 to 25 odd years ago huge numbers of eucalyptus trees were planted in Sector 91/93 of Noida. During the intervening period the entire land of around 75 hectares of land has grown into a forest. Trees have grown along with shrubs and bushes. This forest has become a natural habitat for wildlife like Neelgai, Peacocks etc. It is being told that some eucalyptus trees were planned to be cut 10 to 15 years ago. But it did not happen. Recently Noida Authority decided to cut a large number of trees. Subsequently around 5000 trees were cut. Residents living in nearby Group Housing Societies were probably aware about the tree cutting. But people living at other places came to know about it much later. By that time damage was already done to this forest area. Still people came there on 25 August to stage a protest against cutting of trees. Probably some residents of nearby GH Societies feel that why “outsiders” have come? This goes to show that they are concerned about the forest and are feeling possessive about it. It is a very noble sentiment indeed. They deserve appreciation for it. But point to note is that today environmental protection is every citizen’s concern, no matter in which part of Noida/India the citizen is living. So it is heartening to note that more and more people are joining this protest and giving their opinion. This is what democracy is all about. Government of India has initiated a concept called MyGov.  GOI is encouraging people to participate in government programmes and give their suggestion and active participation in various programmes. So those who have joined this issue are only exercising their democratic right. It should be respected and appreciated.

Citizens against tree felling in forest of Sector 91, Noida

Supreme Court definition of forest

Before the interpretation of forest land there was no clear cut definition of “forest” in our laws. Some state governments applied this word to “reserve forests” only. This narrow interpretation helped in de-reserving other forest areas, which were then used for commercial and industrial purposes.

After a Supreme Court order in the year 2006, all State Governments are required to identify “forest” as per dictionary meaning of the word “forest”. This is apart from lands which are demarcated as forest in land records.

In 1996, the Supreme Court interpreted the word “forest” by its dictionary meaning. So let us see how various dictionaries define a forest: –

  • Oxford Dictionary – It defines forest as a large area covered chiefly with trees and undergrowth.
  • Cambridge Dictionary – A large area of land covered with trees & plants, usually larger than a wood, or the trees & plants themselves.
  • Webster Dictionary – A dense growth of trees and underbrush covering a large tract

According to this new broader definition by Supreme Court, any forest thus defined, regardless of ownership would be subject to the Section 2 of the FCA 1980 (forest Conservation Act). The land under discussion in Sector 93 (where large number of trees has been cut) certainly qualifies as “forest”.

Tree cutting in a forest – Representative Image

Assurance by Environment Ministry

The then Union Environment Minister Sri Prakash Javedkar had stated that we will not reduce any forest areas. Consider the following policies of the Government: –

  • Patches that have 10% forest density will get FCA cover.
  • In states with high forest cover patches that have more than 40% forest density will get FCA protection.
  • Following are also considered forest – Chota jhar ke jungle, Bani, Oran, Ciil soyam land, Gair mumkin pahar, Raines, Nala with healthy forest patches, Meadows, Bamboo breaks would also be considered as forests.

Private Plantation

  • To protect private plantation growers only large patches (upwards of 5 hectares), with more than 70% natural forests will get covered under FCA. The forest in Sector 93, Noida is not a private plantation and it is also spread over a land which is much larger than 5 hectares.
  • Where people have planted trees on their own, this definition of “forest” does not apply. This policy was made to encourage Green India Mission.
  • Government of India is now also considering Afforestation Policy in PPP mode.
  • Noida Authority in any case in not a private planter of trees, like a farmer.
Let Noida Breathe – Citizen Protesting Against Tree Cutting

What is forest Conservation Act

The Indian forest Act 1927 is being overhauled. forest Conservation Act – 1980 by Environment Ministry the areas where industrial and other development activities can take place without requirement of statutory clearance under FCA. It also clarifies that clearances, compensatory afforestation and payment of levies will be applicable or areas defined as forest. Following are some o the important points: –

  • Diversion of forest area or non forestry purpose is not allowed. Any forest land or any portion thereof may not be used for any non forest purpose without prior approval of Central Government.
  • No forest land or any portion thereof may be assigned by way of lease or otherwise to any private person or to any authority, corporation, agency or any other organization not owned, managed or controlled by government.
  • No forest land or any portion thereof may be cleared of trees which have grown naturally in that land or portion, for the purpose of using it for reforestation. Government approval is required to do so.
  • Diversion of forest land is mostly allowed in order to meet developmental needs or drinking water, irrigation projects, transmission lines, railways, roads, power projects, defense related projects and mining.
  • Compensatory afforestation must take place with plans of biodiversity, wildlife conservation and for restoration and enhancement of forest areas.
  • Industrial wood needs should be met by farm forestry.

What should Noida Authority Do – Suggestions

  • Forest in Sector 91/93 cannot be cut for reasons like making a jogging track or an entertainment park with food courts etc. forest Conservation Act – 1980 (and amended in 1988) does not allow it. Forest land cannot be commercialized.
  • Planting such a large number of eucalyptus trees around 20 years ago was a wrong decision. A variety of trees should have been planted that time itself, to maintain biodiversity. But that is past.
  • Now that 5000 eucalyptus trees have been cut similar number of trees of different varieties should be planted to maintain biodiversity. It is heartening to read in newspapers that Noida Authority is planning to plant 5000 fruit trees of different varieties. It is a welcome step.
  • Balance of eucalyptus trees should be replaced in a phased manner by planting variety of other trees.
  • A water reservoir should also be made in the forest with an underground pipeline so that there is provision of water for the animals.
  • Biodiversity does not mean a biodiversity park. A “forest” is different from a park. Biodiversity here means that there should be different types of plants and bushes in this land.
  • A biodiversity park is already being made in Sector 18, Noida. Another one is not required.
  • If it is made a park then thousands of people will come every day. It will no longer remain a “forest”. This will be against the letter and spirit of forest Conservation Act.

Aushadhi Park in Sector 91 – Make food court here

During the previous regime Sri Akhilesh Yadav had laid the foundation of an Aushadhi Park in this very Sector  91. Land of 29 acres is already earmarked and is lying vacant. Has Noida Authority has taken steps to work on this Aushadhi Park? Why jump from one project to another without completing the first project? Why not make this bio diversity park on this piece of land? Make food courts, cycling tracks, walking tracks and exhibition spaces in this 29 acres of land. Why destroy the only forest in Noida? It seems that Noida Authority has commercial interest in mind and is looking forward to earn revenue from food courts and exhibition spaces. That is why a forest is being destroyed and dream of cycle tracks and food courts is being sold to public. 

Make Bio Diversity Park here with food court and cycle tracks
Noida Authority selling a dream by destroying only forest in Noida

What is CAMPA

Compensatory Afforestation fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) was established in the year 2009. It functions as National Advisory Council. This fund was constituted in 2006 based on Supreme Court order. Noida Authority should approach CAMPA for assistance and guidance if it is required. Following is the role of CAMPA: –

  • It monitors and provides technical assistance & evaluation of compensatory afforestation activities.
  • CAMPA promotes afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensation when forest land is diverted or non forest use as mentioned above (for specific uses, permitted under forest Conservation Act).

National Mission for Green India

Cutting of trees in the forest area of Sector 93 goes against the aims of GIM. Followings are its aims:-

  • GIM is a ten year programme aimed at improving the quality of five million hectares of degraded forests.
  • GIM aims to bring five million hectares more of non forest area under forest cover. It intends to achieve this through social and farm forestry.
  • In 2014 Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved an expenditure of Rs 13000 Crore. This is to be spent on plantation and forest restoration.

National Afforestation Programme

NAP was started in the year 2006. It supports the process of developing forest protection. To achieve its aim Joint forest Management Committee (JfMC) has been set up at village level. Similarly forest Development Agency (fDA) has been set up at forest division level. May be Noida Authority can consult these agencies.


In view of the above mentioned points it is obvious that government is serious about forests and has made many rules or increasing forest cover. forest Conservation Act, National Mission for Green India, National Afforestation Programme and Compensatory Afforestation fund Management & Planning Authority are all pointers to government’s seriousness on this issue. Every inch of forest cover is sacrosanct and must not be destroyed.

Chipko Aandolan by Concerned Citizen

Article by Col P Chandra (Retd)

One Comment

  1. Kalpana kumbhat Kalpana kumbhat August 27, 2018

    Forests must remain otherwise we can see flood positions and other problems as in other states.

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