Env Min relaxes eco norms in Naxal affected dists
The MoEF decision came in response to requests made by Union Home Ministry, Planning Commission and affected states.
With this, the state government can divert forest land for projects like– schools, dispensaries/hospitals, electrical and telecommunication lines, drinking water, water/rain water harvesting structures, minor irrigation canal, non-conventional sources of energy, skill upgradation/vocational training centre, power sub stations, rural roads, communication posts, police establishments like police stations/outposts/border outposts/watch towers in sensitive area(identified by Ministry of Home Affairs) and underground laying of optical fibre cables, telephone lines and drinking water supply lines.
"…the MoE&F has decided to permit state governments to clear projects of up to five hectares of forest land for critical public utility infrastructure projects in 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 of two hectares has been extended to five hectares. .
The Ministry also asked the state governments of LWE affected districts to submit six monthly reports containing details of the forest land diverted for the projects.
It may be mentioned here that as many as half of the Odisha districts are Naxal-affected districts. The districts are– Bolangir, Deogarh, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Sonepur, and Sundargarh.