The Modi government gave green signal to fell at least 1.09 crore trees during 2014-2019 for various development-related works, said Babul Supriyo, the union environment minister of state, in the Lok Sabha on July 26.
Supriyo, while responding to a query, said that the highest number of trees (26.9 lakh) were uprooted in 2018-19. He added that the data doesn't include the number of trees that were destroyed in various forest fires.
"Trees are felled for various development purposes with the permission of competent authorities in accordance with the procedure laid down in various Acts. However, the Ministry does not maintain data regarding the cutting of trees due to forest fire," said Supriyo.
Between 2014-2015, 23.3 lakh trees were permitted to be uprooted, 16.9 lakh in 2015-2016, 17.01 lakh in 2016-17 and 25.5 lakh in 2017-18 were uprooted, according to the environment ministry data.
The government said that it has released a sum of Rs 237.07 crore in the last four years to 12 states under the Green India Mission for afforestation in an area of 87113.86 hectares and providing alternative energy devices to 56,319 households.
Under the National Afforestation Programme, however, the Modi government sanctioned an amount of Rs Rs 328.90 to treat new area of 94,828 hectares during the last four years (2015-16 to 2018-19).