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NGT takes Suo Motu cognizance of substantial decrease in forest area of Manipur State

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) took Suo Motu cognizance of the matter relating to the substantial decrease in the area of forest in the State of Manipur.

The Petition is registered suo-moto on the basis of the news item dated 04.05.2024.

As per the article, the forest cover in the state has been reduced from 17,475 sq km in 1987 to 16,598 sq km in 2021, which shows a decrease of 877 sq km of forest cover. 

It further states that this has happened mainly due to deforestation and opium poppy cultivation. 

The news item further refers to data from the Manipur Remote Sensing Applications Centre, which says that the area of opium poppy cultivation in Manipur has declined by 60 percent since 2021.   

The news item raises substantial issue relating to compliance of environmental norms.    

“Power of the Tribunal to take up the matter in suo-motu exercise of power has been recognized by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of “Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai vs. Ankita Sinha & Ors.” reported in 2021 SCC Online SC 897.”

Hence, the Principal Bench of Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Dr. A Senthil Vel  impleaded the following as respondents in the matter:

(1). Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Integrated Regional Office, Law-U-Sib, Lumbatngen, Near MTC Workshop, Shillong. 

(2). Forest Survey of India, through its Regional Director (Eastern Zone), Regional Office, Eastern Zone IB-198, Sector-III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata 700106.   

The Bench issued notice to the Respondents .

The Principal Bench of the Tribunal is already considering the issue of loss of forest land across the country in another application and therefore the Bench thagged the  matter with the same.and listed it on 31.07.2024.

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