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Presently, 55 projects for forest clearance and one project for environment clearance are pending in hilly states, which include Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Presently, 55 projects for forest clearance and one project for environment clearance are pending in hilly states, which include Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

56 proposals under Forest Act given clearance: Prakash Javadekar

The minister of state for environment says his ministry has taken steps to expedite clearances for development projects in border regions

New Delhi: Fifty-six proposals under the Forest Conservation Act and 11 projects under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification for roads and public utility sectors were granted clearance in hilly states during the last year, the government said on Thursday.

Presently, 55 projects for forest clearance and one project for environment clearance are pending in these states, which include Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir, minister of state for environment Prakash Javadekar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

Javadekar said his ministry was aware of the importance of developmental works in critical and sensitive border areas and accordingly it has taken steps to “simplify and expedite" the process of granting clearances.

Elaborating on the measures, he said that under the Forest Conservation Act 1980, the grant of general approval for construction and widening of two-lane roads, and by the Border Roads Organization (BRO), within 100km (aerial distance) of the LAC (Line of Actual Control).

The ministry has given a relaxation to strategic projects in border regions, in the area falling within 100km aerial distance of the LAC, to raise and maintain compensatory afforestation over an equivalent degraded forest land instead of double the degraded forest land, apart from the constitution of a working group to review forest, wildlife and environment clearances.

Javadekar said general approval has also been given to 13 categories of public utility projects, including the construction of bridges, involving forest land not more than one hectare and felling of not more than 50 trees.

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