Diversion of forest land upto one hectare for developmental works approved

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New Delhi, Dec 2 (ANI): The Union Government on Wednesday accorded a general approval for diversion of forest land for undertaking developmental activities by the state government departments for the welfare of the people.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Jairam Ramesh said as per the general approval the state government departments can use the forest land upto one hectare for the developmental projects.

Jairam Ramesh also clarified that "For public development schemes having up to one hectare no compensatory afforestation is required, as a specific measure in exception to the guidelines. In case of more than one hectare of forest land required by the State Government compensatory afforestation is proposed on equivalent non-forest land."

The present scheme has worked well and the rate of diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes has decreased from 1,43,000 hectares to around 30,500 hectares. The proposals received from the various State Governments have been examined and the Central Government has decided to continue with the present system of Compensatory Afforestation. Accordingly, no amendment in the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has been proposed in this regard, Jairam Ramesh said. (ANI)

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