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To: Shri Prakash Javdekar, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Do not allow any ‘temporary’ events within our forests
MoEFCC should allow not ‘events’ anywhere within Protected Areas
Why is this important?
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has in a recent move allowed ‘temporary’ activities within forests across India! These could include but are not limited to weddings, exhibitions, concerts, film shoots and other events of a temporary nature inside forests without the need of any prior permission from the Centre under the Forest Conservation Act! This is disturbing!
Not only has the nature of the ‘temporary’ events been left open to interpretation, but by nature would cause serious damage to the forests and disturb the wildlife within the region.
As is only 23% of India’s over 700,000 sq km of forest cover falls in the protected category. Moreover, without any oversight from the Centre, this could become open to all and sundry who will create a ruckus in our forests, and disturb adivasis and wildlife alike.
Irrespective of whether the activity is for a few hours or a few days - such as photoshoots and exhibitions, it will cause irreversible damage to forests across India. The Art of Living exhibition in 2016 is a case in point. While the Ministry argues it is only reissuing the order that was originally laid down in 2014, the fact remains that our past learnings should get us to reconsider this order and not allow any disturbance within or close to any protected areas.
We citizens of this country are becoming increasingly aware of the need for our forests to remain standing and our wilderness to remain undisturbed. Our forests are sanctuary to forest-dwellers and biodiversity and together they form a crucial insurance against climate change.