Solution for forest encroachments soon: Javadekar

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said his ministry will soon come up with a solution to the menace of forest land encroachment.

“This is a problem which we have inherited. We will soon come out with a solution. We are trying to deal with the problem scientifically,” Javadekar told IANS here.

Over 15 lakh acres of forest land in India is under encroachment, the minister informed the Lok Sabha recently.

According to data, Madhya Pradesh tops the list with 5.34 lakh acres of encroached land as of March 2016, followed by Assam with 3.17 lakh acres.

Asked about genetically modified (GM) crops, Javadekar said, “For now, GM crops are only allowed in trials but we have to understand that we can’t stop the march of science.”

Activists have been opposing the GM crops, like GM mustard and Bt brinjal, citing health issues.

However, experts like the government’s Principal Scientific Adviser R. Chidambaram suggest that there should be no irrational resistance to GM crops once careful research and field trials have been done.

Speaking of the steps taken before the government introduces Euro-6 standard fuel by 2020 to reduce vehicular pollution by 90 percent, Javadekar said his ministry is doing 24-hour monitoring of emissions.

“About 622 closure notices had been issued so for to the polluting industries. Besides, we have upgraded emission standards for many industries. Over 2,400 polluting industries have been put through real-time emission and effluent monitoring systems,” he said.

On pollution in the Ganga river, the minister said: “Industrial waste in the Ganga had reduced by 35 percent. Now, litter doesn’t flow into the Ganga. But, sewage pollution has not gone down yet. It will take some time.”

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