October 23, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Govt eyes green law tweaks to boost strategic projects

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Govt eyes green law tweaks to boost strategic projects
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Govt eyes green law tweaks to boost strategic projects
Govt eyes green law tweaks to boost strategic projects

NEW DELHI: Seeking to streamline green clearance processes to speed up key projects, environment ministry has released a consultation paper on proposed amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 which, if accepted, may pave the way for sweeping changes in certain sectors, including the strategic ones, and also in the way people use forests on private lands.
The ministry, however, at the same time, emphasised on considering introducing an enabling provision in the Act to “keep certain pristine forests showcasing rich ecological values intact” (no-go zone) even as there is a need to address dynamic changes in ecological, socio and economic environment in the country over the last four decades.
The paper, released on Monday, seeking stakeholders’ suggestions on it within 15 days proposes exempting projects related to strategic importance, including those of defence and security needs from obtaining prior green approval, and allow setting up zoos and safari parks in forest areas.
It also proposes to exempt landholding agencies including railways, NHAI, PWD from seeking permission for linear infrastructure projects — such as railway track, communication line or roads — if the land was acquired before October, 1980. At present, a landholding agency is required to take approval under the Act for use of such land which was originally acquired for non-forest purposes.
Though experts flagged their concerns over certain aspects of these proposals, the ministry in its note justified the move saying the changes are needed to effectively fit into the present circumstances, particularly for “accelerated integration of conservation and development” while factoring in the considerable changes in the past 40 years.
“Exemption of projects for strategic and defence needs to be reviewed. The process can be streamlined but blanket exemption will have serious ecological consequences,” said Ritwick Dutta of Legal Initiative for Forests and Environment (LIFE).

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