In a historic decision, the Supreme Court of India has permitted the State to axe khair trees on government forest land in 10 forest divisions of the State. “This was possible as the case was cogently pleaded by the State Government and the Apex court has delivered its judgment in favour of the State Forest Department” said Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
The government aims to exempt the felling of Khair trees from the ‘ten years felling programme’ and permit farmers to axe them as per their convenience, giving much needed relief to them and add to their economy, he said. A working plan is ready for felling of khair trees in five forest divisions including Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Nalagarh and Kutlehar and yield prescribed was 16500 trees per annum in these forest divisions and extraction of khair will commence shortly. “Commercial cultivation of Khair trees in lower belts of the State, will generate lucrative incomes for farmers manifold, besides adding revenue to the state’s revenue”, said the Chief Minister.
The working plan for the remaining five forest divisions i.e. Nahan, Poanta Sahib, Dharamshala, Nurpur and Dehra will be prepared soon and will be finalized at the earliest. The forest officers will initiate the process of inspecting the forests and counting the khair trees would be conducted in order to prepare a working plan for these five forest divisions. Khair tree is a useful medicinal plant as the bark, leaves, roots and seeds of the khair are used as medicine. The bark is astringent, it is anti-disease and anti-inflammatory. Catechu is also made from the tree, this it is also called Katha tree. Katha is cooling and digestive. Gum is also extracted from the Khair, which is used in medicine. Khair plant is a wild plant and it is very easy to grow. This plant flourishes well in hot climate and does not require much care besides its rejuvenation quality is very high.
The welfare of the farming community was on the priority list of the State Government and no stone would be left unturned for their welfare, reiterated the Chief Minister. Scientific and planned felling of khair trees is better for forest management and rejuvenation as new and healthy khair plants grow in place of axed old trees. Till now, most of the khair trees are decaying due to non extraction of the timber in time and this was a major obstacle in the direction of better forest management. The Supreme Court of India had allowed the felling of khair trees in the year 2018 on an experiment basis to know the results of silviculture felling of khair trees. Now the Apex Court was convinced with the opinion of the Forest Department as the Central Empowered Committee had submitted its findings to the Court which is a historic decision, said he.