Env Min gives powers to states to clear projects in naxal area
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
The present threshold limit for such diversion is two
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
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
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
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