The Nationwide Inexperienced Tribunal has halted additional exercise throughout 436 acres of forest land in one of many prime areas of Bhubaneswar having inns, authorities and company places of work citing lack of forest diversion clearance.
“In view of the acknowledged encroachment of forest land and, diversion of forest land having been undertaken with out acquiring the obligatory clearance below the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, we’re of the agency view that no additional exercise shall be taken up with out first complying with the necessities of legislation,” ordered the NGT bench of justice SP Wangdi and skilled member Saibal Dasgupta referring to the 436 acres of land marked as Forest Class (Jungle II) in authorities information.
The NGT bench additional stated that if the state authorities permits violation of the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, then the Ministry of Forest MoEF&CC can take applicable motion below the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Forest (Conservation) Guidelines, 2003 towards these chargeable for allowing such violations. It additionally directed the state authorities, the Divisional Forest Officer and the MoEF&CC earlier than the following listening to on February 19.
The January 5 order was uploaded on the NGT’s web site on Thursday.
The NGT order got here in response to a petition filed by Bhubaneswar-based activist Subash Mohapatra in 2019 difficult the inaction of the state authorities in checking the unlawful and unauthorized use of 568 acres of income forest land (Jungle II Kisam) in Khata No 1427 of Jaydev Vihar Mouza in Bhubaneswar for non-forestry objective. Mohapatra in his petition to the NGT had stated that 44 establishments had arrange inns, company places of work, a faculty and hospitals with out making use of for diversion of forest land for non-forest functions.
Inns like Mayfair, Trident, Swosti Plaza, Sandy’s Towers and Suryansh and places of work like Tech Mahindra, Nalco, Workers Insurance coverage Company and Loyola Faculty have come up on these lands during the last three many years. A CAG report in 2012 had first flagged the alleged violation of the FC Act by a few of these entities.
Below the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, forest areas might be diverted by the setting ministry for non-forestry functions. In lieu of the land, cash is collected by the federal government which is then utilized by the authorities for afforestation.
After Mohapatra filed his petition, the NGT in Could 2019 had fashioned a committee comprising district collector and Divisional Forest Officer of Khurda to establish the veracity of his allegations and to take motion in accordance with legislation if any of the alleged violations had been discovered to be right.
The committee in its report had knowledgeable the NGT that massive tracts of forest land had been diverted for non-forest actions by numerous establishments with out acquiring needed clearances below the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. It additionally stated that the state authorities had requested 44 central and state Authorities, central and state undertakings and personal establishments located on the forest land to file proposals for diversion of forest land for non-forestry use and to acquire needed clearances from the MoEF&CC. Nonetheless, out of 44 establishments, clearance has been accorded by the MoEF&CC to solely three establishments between 2014 and 2019.