Punjab reduces time frame of forest land diversion cases

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Chandigarh, Feb 5 (UNI) The Punjab Forest Department has decided to route all the diversion cases of forest land under Forest Conservation Act (FCA) through Single File System reducing the time of processing of FCA proposals at various levels.

This decision is likely to reduce the file processing period from Punjab Chief Conservator Forests (PCCF) to various Government levels to less than 15 days compared to 75 days taken earlier.

Disclosing this here today Forest Minister Tikshan Sud said number of FCA cases had increased enormously in the recent past due to rapid pace of development in the state.

He pointed out that a large number of infrastructural projects for widening/strengthening of the existing roads, construction of new roads, railway lines, power projects, telecommunications, drinking water and sewerage pipelines, establishment of industries, tourist resorts/ hotels, dhabas, housing colonies have to seek prior approval of the Central Government for diversion of forest land mainly for approach roads.

The Forest Minister said there is a huge investment involved in all these infrastructural and developmental projects and extent of forest area for diversion is very small in each project. Any delay in approval of these projects results in the escalation of project cost.

Keeping this in mind, Forest Department has taken a decision to adopt a single file system to curb the delay in processing of the FCA cases submitted by various user agencies to minimize the time taken to process the proposals at four levels-- Divisional Forest Officer, Conservator of Forests, Nodal Officer and the Government, the Minister added.

Mr Sud said this decision would not only curb the delay in submitting the proposals to the Central Government but also save project costs. The Minister added that the office of PCCF will send the file containing the proposal for permission/diversion directly to Financial Commissioner (Forests) who will send it directly to the Central Government for approval.

This decision of the Forest Department has been welcomed by many entrepreneurs in the state, he added.

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