Bhubaneswar: State governments can now
set up public interest projects on upto five hectares of
forest land in Maoist-affected districts without seeking
permission from Centre instead of two hectare earlier,
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday.
"The Centre has decided to increase the limit from two
hectare of forest land to five hectare in Maoist hit areas,"
Ramesh told reporters here, adding the new `freedom` to the
states on use of forest land would help in combating Left Wing
Ramesh said 60 Maoist-hit districts including 19 in
Orissa would receive benefit.
"The state governments can set up public interest
projects like schools, hospitals, housing for security
personnel on five hectare of forest land without seeking
permission from the MoEF," the union minister told reporters
Though many Maoist-hit states have improved road
connectivity, there was lack of bridges in the tri-junction of
Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattishgarh.
"Rebels find it easy to escape through river routes as
security personnel fail to reach them due to lack of bridges,"
The minister expressed surprise how Orissa failed to
build a bridge over river Gurupriya for years together. "Had
there been a bridge over Gurupriya, many problems might have
been avoided," he said.