Minister of Forests and Environment Prem Bahadur Ale defended himself and said he was defamed by misusing technology.

Minister Ale was referring to video clips doing the rounds in social networking sites of late, where he was projected as saying, "Tree gives carbon dioxide to humans."

Addressing the 21st annual general meeting of the Federation of Forest Based Industry and Trade here today, Minister Ale clarified that remarks he had made at the Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal a few days ago were edited and disseminated to disrepute him.

Urging the public not to trust that 'edited' video clip, Ale asserted, "I had intended to say that the fallen tree would not give oxygen. Such trees only give carbon dioxide. But those who despise the incumbent government and me have distorted my views and disseminated it across social media to ridicule me."

He also clarified another statement of his: "This is a people's government, and it is responsible towards the public," which he said was also distorted and expressed his displeasure at the malicious intent.

Stating that his serious attention was drawn towards such malicious activity against him, the minister urged those defaming him to use that energy for the greater good of the country. On a different note, he said the government's Scientific Forest Management policy was scrapped as people were found to be involved in deforestation under its pretext.

According to him, correspondence has been sent to the ministries concerned in all the provinces to keep track of those trees cut down in the name of scientific forest management.

The government has also banned commercial felling of trees, sale and exports. It is estimated that more than 250,000 labourers and a huge number of entrepreneurs depend on forest-based enterprises in the country.

Acknowledging this, the minister pledged that he would not leave entrepreneurs and workers in the lurch.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 08, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.