Unable to make ends meet with the current capping on cooking gas cylinders by the Central government, villagers in Himachal Pradesh are forced to cut trees, adding to the ecological imbalance in the region.
Experts inform that global warming due to mass deforestation and rising pollution have depleted the state's environment, triggering an overall biological change.
Several villagers in the state said they do not have the money to buy more cylinders ; as such they are illegally chopping trees and using the twigs as fuel to cook food.
"We cannot afford to buy more cylinders as the cap has been reduced to six by the federal government. We secretly cut trees in the forest, otherwise we will be caught. We cook our food using cut trees as fuel as there is no other option," said a daily wage labourer, Sangram Singh.
Forest officials, however, said that constant felling of trees has disturbed the ecological balance.
"It is very true that there is an ecological balance in the region is at alarming level. Villagers cut trees illegally; otherwise they will be punished by the forest officials. The government should understand the plight of the poor and increase the cap on cooking gas cylinders to atleast nine, if not 12," said a forest official, Rakesh Singh.
India raised the price of diesel in mid-September, after a gap of more than a year, and capped annual sales of subsidised cooking gas cylinders to six per household. (ANI)