New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Friday directed the Madhya Pradesh government to remove construction under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in Shivpuri noting that it was situated on forest land. A bench comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and expert member S S Garbyal said it was clear from the documents on record that the land in question is forest land and no non-forest activity could be undertaken on it without following the provisions of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
NGT noted that at the time of construction of houses there were neither any forest rights conferred upon the people on the forest land in question nor was any prior approval of Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) obtained, in accordance with the Act.
“We are of the considered opinion that at the time of construction of houses, there was no right conferred upon the persons who are constructing or on whose behalf buildings are being constructed in the forest land in question. Therefore, there has been violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the houses which are being constructed or already constructed are illegal.
“We accordingly direct the State authorities to initiate action for removal of construction and restore the forest land to its original nature,” the bench said. The tribunal’s judgement came on a plea filed by a seer Pathranand alleging that the authorities are constructing houses under PMAY without approval in Samanya Van Mandal Shivpuri forest land. He had sought directions that all constructions be removed and to restore forest land to its original nature. Around 63 tribals of Vinega village in Shivpuri were given individual forest rights to build homes under the PMAY.