The Centre has asked the state governments, UT administrations and all concerned to share their comments and suggestions on the proposed amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, within 15 days.
The ministry of environment and forest and climate change has proposed amendments to effectively fit into the present circumstances, particularly for accelerated integration of conservation and development.
The ministry has proposed exemption of lands which are originally acquired for non-forest purposes before October 25, 1980 from the purview of the Act as a landholding agency (Rail, NHAI, PWD, etc) is required to take approval under the Act as well as pay stipulated compensatory levies such as Net Present Value (NPV), Compensatory Afforestation (CA), for use of such land which was originally been acquired for non-forest purposes.
The ministry is considering introducing an enabling provision in the Act to keep certain pristine forests showcasing rich ecological values intact for a specific period.
Development of infrastructure along the international border areas is crucial for keeping our borders intact and to uphold the sovereignty of the country. Given the present scenario of obtaining approval for non forestry use of forest land, many a times, strategic and security projects of national importance get delayed resulting in setback to development of such infrastructure at critical locations. ‘’Whether, such projects should be exempted from obtaining prior approval of the Central Government under the provision of the Act and allow the States to permit non-forest use of forest land for implementation of such strategic and security projects that are to be completed in a given time frame,’’ said the ministry.
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