4 Dec : A large area of the forest land in the country is under unauthorized occupation or encroachment. As per the reports received from State/UT Governments, approximately 16.2 lakh hectare forest area in the country is under encroachment. The Union Territories of Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lakshdweep and Puducherry do not face this problem.
The State-wise details are given in annexure. Protection and management of forest areas is primarily the responsibility of concerned State/UT Governments. Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued guidelines to State/UT Governments to get the encroached land evicted from ineligible encroachers. The state of Assam shows highest area, i.e. almost 3.5 lakh hectare land under encroachment. Andhra Pradesh has 2 lakh 93 thousand hectare and Madhya Pradesh has 2 lakh 40 thousand hectare land under encroachment.