In a significant decision, the Supreme Court of India has granted permission to axe khair trees on government forest land in 10 forest divisions of Himachal Pradesh. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that the state government had presented a compelling case in favour of the Forest Department.

A comprehensive working plan has been prepared for the felling of khair trees in five forest divisions, namely Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Nalagarh, and Kutlehar. The prescribed yield for these divisions is set at 16,500 trees per year, and the extraction process is expected to commence shortly.

Efforts are also underway to create a working plan for the remaining five forest divisions, including Nahan, Poanta Sahib, Dharamshala, Nurpur, and Dehra. Forest officers will conduct inspections and undertake a tree count in order to formulate an appropriate strategy for these divisions.

Chief Minister Sukhu emphasized that the silviculture felling of khair trees is crucial for effective forest management, rejuvenation, and revenue generation for the state. He highlighted that the non-extraction of timber in a timely manner has led to the decay of many khair trees, posing a significant obstacle to better forest management. With the aim of addressing these concerns, the state government approached the Apex Court to seek permission for felling khair trees.

The Chief Minister further explained that the Supreme Court had granted permission for experimental silviculture felling of khair trees in 2018. The recent decision comes after careful consideration of the findings submitted by the Central Empowered Committee, which supported the Forest Department’s stance on the matter.

The ruling is expected to have a profound impact on forest management practices in Himachal Pradesh. By allowing the felling of khair trees under regulated conditions, the state aims to strike a balance between sustainable forest conservation and the utilization of valuable resources.