Bamboo not ‘tree’ any more: President promulgates ordinance to amend Forest Act
President Ram Nath Kovind has promulgated an ordinance under Article 123 of Constitute to amend Indian Forest Act, 1927 to encourage bamboo plantation by farmers in private lands.
The ordinance omits bamboo (taxonomically a grass) grown in non-forest areas from definition of trees. The omission, thereby exempts it from requiring permits for felling or transportation of bamboo grown in non-forest areas.
With this, bamboo grown in non-forest areas ceases to be tree. However, bamboo grown in forest areas continues to be governed by provisions of Indian Forest Act. The amendment to Section 2(7) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 will encourage bamboo plantation by farmers, which will contribute to doubling farmers income by 2022.
India has largest area under bamboo cultivation and is second richest in terms of bamboo genetic resources after China. India has 19% share of world’s area under bamboo cultivation, its market share in sector is only 6%. But, India’s massive potential was not utilised to increase country’s share in global bamboo market. As result, India is currently importing timber and allied products such as pulp, paper and furniture, etc. The amendment will help in addressing some of these issues, besides meeting the demand from domestic production.
Significance of Amendments
By omitting bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of trees, government hoped to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve the “twin objectives” of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country.
The amendment approved will allow free movement of bamboo and ensure that production and consumption centres are seamlessly integrated. This will generate demand for raw material leading to planting of bamboo trees on non-forest land, provide employment and encourage growth of small and medium industries in villages and smaller towns also, and reduce our dependence on imports.