Naveen seeks relaxed afforestation norms for State PSUs

Bhubaneswar: Demanding equal dispensation for State government and State PSUs at par with Central PSUs in terms of compensatory afforestation, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention.

In a letter to Modi, Naveen highlighted “A special dispensation has been allowed for the projects of Central Government and Central Government Undertakings that allows raising of compensatory afforestation in degraded forest land in twice the extent of forest areas diverted. In all other cases, including the projects of the State Government and the State Government Undertakings, use of degraded forest land for compensatory afforestation is permited only if it is certified by the Chief Secretary of the State that suitable non-forest land is not available in the entire State.”

While mentioning the problems faced by State government and its entities, Naveen in his letter mentioned “I Odisha perspective, where 37.34% of the geographical area is recorded as forest area, difficulties are faced especially by the State government and State PSUs in identifying non-forest land of large chunks for raising compensatory afforestation particularly in the districts having a large number of mining and industrial projects.”

“Besides, it is more desirable to take up compensatory afforestation in degraded forest land located in close proximity of the project area from environmental as well as forest management point of view rather than taking it up in faraway areas,” noted Naveen.

Urging for intervention, Naveen wrote “It will be in fitness of things to extend the special dispensation given to Central Government/PSUs to the projects owned by State government / PSUs, the projects run by State government/PSUs as important for achieving national developmental goals/objectives.”

Citing that the Chief Secretary had already raised the issue with MoEF&CC, which regretted the proposal, he urged the PM to make special provisions applicable to State government/PSUs.