CM Sukhu says projects not to be delayed due to non-clearance of forest acts


Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said on Thursday that developmental schemes would not be delayed because of non-clearance under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) and Forest Rights Act (FRA), as the Supreme Court has removed the condition of forest clearance for lands up to one hectare.
Sukhu was replying to a discussion on a private member resolution moved by Rajesh Dharmani of Congress. The government has set up committees headed by a Deputy Commissioner and a Divisional Forest Officer that would meet fortnightly to expedite the pending cases. Dharmani moved the resolution seeking the drafting of a policy to give permission to buildings and roads constructed without forest clearance in one go. He withdrew the resolution after hearing the reply of the chief minister.
The FCA is not applicable to buildings and roads constructed up to 1980, and there are 2,183 roads constructed on forest lands without permission under the two acts, and permissions for them will have to be obtained, Sukhu said.
He said that a private agency contracted by the Union Government has been engaged to expedite clearances under the two acts, and a conservator has been appointed exclusively for the purpose.
Although an office of the Forest and Environment Ministry is located in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh is getting cases for forest clearance from other states too, Sukhu said. The government has written to the center to ask the office to deal only with matters related to Himachal Pradesh, he added.