New Delhi: Government will take views of senior forest officials before bringing amendments to five key environment laws enacted between 1971 and 1986, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Friday.
"We will take their suggestions on what are the changes needed in governing environmental policies and all the five Acts. They will give their suggestions," he told reporters about the environment policies and laws reviewed by a high- level panel.
He said suggestions of 600-odd forest officers from different parts of the country on the key policy decisions will be taken at three chintan shivirs to be held in Bengaluru, Bhopal and Guwahati.
The minister said the draft of the amendments to five environment laws are being prepared. He, however, did not say whether the amendments will be brought in the budget session of Parliament.
The laws which were reviewed by a four-member panel headed by former cabinet secretary T S R Subramanian are the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
Javadekar said the chintan shivir essentially is an open dialogue with forest officers drawn from various disciplines related to environment. Their views will be taken on how people's participation can be ensured in areas of forest development, pollution control, river cleaning and other activities of the ministry.
"So the ministry, which was essentially a licence permit quota raj ministry... We are converting it to people's centric ministry," he said.
"There are four sessions in which only participating officers will speak. Nobody from dais will speak. Each one will be given five minutes," he said.
The first chintan shivir will take place on February 8 and February 9 in Bengaluru. Environment Ministry officials from southern states plus Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa will attend this programme.
The next chintan shivir for officers from northern region will be held on February 20 and 21 in Bhopal. Dates of the third meeting of the officers from eastern and northeastern states planned in Guwahati will be announced later, the minister said.