Env Min gives powers to states to clear projects in naxal area
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 21:22
New Delhi: In a bid to expedite development projects in 60 Naxal affected districts, the Environment Ministry on Thursday gave power to state governments to clear projects upto five hectares of forest land for critical public untility infrastructure projects like schools and hospitals.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's decision to permit state governments to divert more forest land for development projects came as a response to requests made by Union Home Ministry, Planning Commission and affected states.

"...the MoE&F has decided to permit state governments to clear projects of upto five hectares of forest land for critical public utility infrastructure projects in 60 left-wing extremist affected districts without reference to the Forest Conservation Act, 1980," Ramesh said in a statement here.

The present threshold limit for such diversion is two hectares.

The Ministry said limit is being increased to five hectares for constructing schools, dispensaries/hospitals, electrical and telecommunication lines, drinking water, rain water harvesting structrures, minor irrigation canal, non-conventional sources of energy and vocational training centre.

The state governments also can also clear projects in five hectares for building power sub-stations, rural roads communication posts, police stations and underground laying of optical fibre cables, telephone lines and drinking water supply lines.

The Ministry also asked the states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal where the 60 affected districts falls to submit six monthly reports containing details of the forest land diverted for the projects.


First Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 21:22

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