Timber under TD Rights goes costlier in Himachal

Forest department notifies new rates for the financial year of 2012- 13

SHIMLA/ December 5

The people of Himachal Pradesh now would have to pay more for getting the Timber under Timber Distribution Rights. Himachal Pradesh forest department has notified new increased rates for the Timber under the TD rights for the financial year of 2012-13.

As per notification the APL families would have to pay Rs 6978 for one cubic meter of TD Timber (Deodar). While, the rate for the BPL families have been fixed for Rs. 2329 per cubic meter for the same category of Timber. The list of new rates of TD timber for the 16 different categories of species of trees has been notified by the forest guards

“”These rates have been decided by the forest department on the basis of average gross auction rates by Himachal State Forest Corporation Limited, in the open auction during the preceding year, “said Chief Conservator of Forest, DP Sinha.

He said that the slight increase in the TD timber rates have been made by the Forest Department as compare to the last year.

It is to be noted that TD timber is a big issue for the hilly people. The state has around 2.75 lakh BPL and around 12 lakh APL families who are being benefited under this TD policy of the state government.

According to the new rules notified by the government to rationalise allotment of trees to right holders, three cubic metre of converted timber is being provided for construction of a new house once in a lifetime or 30 years and one cubic metre for carrying out major repairs once in 15 years.

TD Timber is supplied at 30 per cent of the prevailing market rates as determined from the sale price of the state forest corporation for APL families. However, the below poverty line (BPL) families are being charged only 10 per cent of the market cost.

In case of natural calamities, it is being given free of cost. There is no provision of granting Timber for the construction or maintenance of buildings to be used for commercial and hiring purposes.

The new Timber Distribution policy was notified by the state government in January 2010. This policy was formulated by the BJP government after broad-based consultation with the local stake-holders has approval of the Himachal Pradesh High Court — which had earlier imposed a total ban on felling of green trees under concessional rates of Rs 5 for a full-grown tree.

The BJP government had also came under sharp attack from the Opposition in the Himachal on the issue of non-availability of timber to forest ‘rights-holders’.

Thousands of precious green trees have been saved from the axe every year with new stringent timber distribution (TD) rules coming into force in the state. Under the new policy the right holders are not being provided standing trees in forests as earlier, instead converted timber.

Applications for the TD timber duly recommended by the gram sabhas, are being received by forest guard upto March 31 year and then the converted timber is provided to the people.