Assam has topped the list of States in terms of encroachment in forest land, with about 4,85,674 hectares of area being occupied, the Government told Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Replying to a query, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Andhra Pradesh came second with 2,68,853 hectares of forest land under encroachment.

According to the data available from the States, about 17,94,879 hectares of forest land is under encroachment.

Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have a total of 5,28,077 hectares of forest land under encroachment. In New Delhi, 200 hectares of forest land have been illegally occupied.

Mr. Ramesh said there was no proposal to regularise the encroachments in violation of order of the Supreme Court. “However, proposals of the State and UT Governments submitted after the approval of the apex court are considered for regularisation by the Central Government under the provision of the Forest (Conservation) Act,” he said.