Pul seeks de-notification of reserved forests in urban areas

I haven’t read this kind of initiative from previous AP Governments. For better or worse, the Reserved Forests has affected most people of AP. In our locality alone, Miao to Namchik is all reserved and M’pen to Gandhigram. Where then would people habitat? Interesting news on AP Times, 7 April 2016.


Pul seeks de-notification of reserved forests in urban areas

April 7, 2016

NEW DELHI, Apr 6: Chief Minister Kalikho Pul has appealed for de-notification of reserved forest areas that cover major towns and large human habitations, especially those in the foothill areas, on a case-by-case basis.
He said this in a meeting with Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.
CM said the state government intends to undo the past injustice, where many existing villages and community lands were notified as reserved forest, especially during 1970s to 1990s.
The boundaries of reserved areas were drawn without actually mapping the area on the ground flouting all the rules and procedures, said the CM.
He mentioned that several portions in all major district headquarters in the state are under reserved areas. Even important institutions and establishments in Itanagar, such as Raj Bhawan, CM’s office, and many important government building today are well within the notified areas.
Several banks and financial institutions such as NeDFI and NABARD are not ready to invest or loan money for setting up businesses due to such constraints. Also projects for essential services like roads, drinking water schemes and hydel projects are being stalled, said the CM.
However, several areas in the foothills are under reserved areas, due to which the scope for establishment of business and offices are constrained, said the CM.
He pointed out that many reserved areas are without forest cover, poor vegetation and without signs of any wildlife, which could be de-notified to make room for development.
Further pointing out the delay of several power projects in the state due to accord of forest clearance being linked up with the completion of basin study, the CM requested the union minister for delinking basin studies from forest clearance.
He mentioned that several projects, which were under implementation has been held up due to mandatory requirement of basin studies to get the final nod from the environment ministry. This has severely affected the confidence of the investors, as the fate of several projects remains uncertain, said the CM.
He requested the union minister for a single window clearance system to expedite execution of power projects stating that power requirement is critical not only for state’s development but for nation as well. The CM also suggested that for smaller hydro projects below 25MW, which does not come under the purview of EIA notification 2006, could be exempted from basin study.
He said all measures would be taken to ensure minimum displacement. To achieve that the CM said instead of single large storage dam, the project will be developed as run-of-the-river and in several stages on one single river.
The union minister assured the CM that centre would lend all helping hands to expedite execution of development projects in Arunachal and to lessen the hurdles in forest clearance. On development of border infrastructures, the minister informed that ministry has granted general approval for all security infrastructures projects 100 km inside the international border. Also he informed that ministry has exempted from the purview of forest clearance, all linear projects – such as highways – in the Border States.

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