NGT raps Environment Ministry for failure to amend guidelines to check tree felling

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 20, 2019 17:42 hrs
National Green Tribunal (Image Courtesy: greentribunal)

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday slammed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for not amending the "Wood-Based Industries (Establishment and Regulation) Guidelines, 2016" to check illegal felling of trees for charcoal making.

The Tribunal has granted "last opportunity" to the Ministry for implementing its order dated August 13, 2018, by February 28, 2019 warning that "coercive measures, including prosecution" may have to be taken for non-compliance.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was hearing a plea by the Indian Institute of Sustainable Development demanding a ban on the use of charcoal as a fuel in the industries for which trees are felled illegally.

The bench said even after five months of the last order, the counsel for the MoEF&CC was unable to provide any specific date by which the order of the Tribunal will be complied with.

"An affidavit has been filed on December 13, 2018, by Rohit Tiwari, Deputy Inspector General of Forests, MoEF&CC, to the effect that the Ministry was in the process of framing guidelines which will take six months. No justification has been given. The stand taken by the MoEF&CC cannot be held to be a responsible stand.

"We do not appreciate the stand in the affidavit that it will take six months to comply with the order, which was to be complied with within four weeks from August 13, 2018, having regard to the urgency of the matter. The stand taken by the MoEF&CC cannot be held to be a responsible stand," the bench said.