New Delhi: The Environment Ministry has constituted a new advisory panel to vet proposals related to forest clearances, according to a government official.
The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), which has been formed after two months of expiry of the last panel on May 28, will soon hold its first meeting to clear 30-35 pending cases.
"The FAC has been set up with seven members. The minister has approved the names of three independent members," a senior Environment Ministry official told PTI.
The independent members for two-year term include N T Podaria, a professor at Garhwal University, Mohammed Feroz Ahmed, a wildlife biologist from Assam, and K P Nyati, President of Delhi-based NGO Sustainable Solutions India, the official said.
"The first meeting of the panel is likely to be held this month," the official said.
The panel meets once a month. The delay in setting up of a new committee has led to pending of clearances of atleast 30-35 proposals related to mining, road and defence sector.
The FAC is crucial as all projects applying for a forest clearance are referred to it after getting approval from the respective state forest departments.
The committee then sends its recommendations to the environment ministry, which takes a final call on the proposal for first-stage approval.
The other members include the director general of forests, an additional director general of forests and the inspector general of forests (conservation) represent the Environment Ministry. There is also a representative from the Agriculture Ministry.