NAGPUR: Considering the role of bamboo in livelihood security and its ecological importance, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has urged all states and union territories not to require transit pass (TP) for transporting bamboo grown on private lands.

At present, no permission or licence is needed to grow bamboo on private land. However, permission is needed from revenue department followed by a TP from forest department to transport it. In a letter to all principal secretaries (forests) on May 14, 2013, the MoEF has asked them to revisit these requirements. The MoEF has said bamboo represented very important group of plants that provide ecological, economic and livelihood security to a large number of forest dependent communities.

It further said bamboo had multiple uses from construction material, handicraft and furniture making, raw material for paper and pulp industry and as food. It also has a very important role in addressing climate change concerns in addition to providing safety net and building resilience of forest dependent communities who are most vulnerable to climate change.

MoEF said, in this light there was an urgent need to encourage planting of bamboos in areas outside forests including private lands. The Centre was promoting bamboo plantations through various schemes with the involvement of public, especially in rural areas. The ministry received suggestions from various quarters for considering exemption of bamboo grown on private lands from requirement of felling and transit pass permissions in order to encourage farmers and other land owners for taking up bamboo plantations in a big way.

To ensure success of these efforts, it was important to provide enabling environment that includes a simplified regulatory regime so that the interest of growers could be sustained. MoEF said some states had already freed bamboo grown on private land and it had yielded good results.

However, experts cautioned that the issue needed to be handled with care. When illicit felling from forests was rampant, bamboo taken from forests could easily be passed as one from private land. Already a lot of damage had been done by those extracting bamboo illegally from sanctuaries and parks and reserve forests, they said.

Praveen Pardeshi, principal secretary (forests), said, “we have removed the condition of TP on bamboo grown on private land across the state, except in nine districts of Vidarbha where bamboo in forest may be illicitly felled and mixed with bamboo grown in farms. As of now, no state has removed all TP restrictions.”

“We are examining how to identify farm bamboo from forest bamboo, so bamboo could be freed in remaining nine districts too,” Pardeshi added.

Source: The Times of India