New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Wednesday (July 26) passed a bill that seeks to exempt land within 100 km of the country’s borders from the purview of the forest conservation laws and permit setting up of zoos, safaris and eco-tourism facilities in forest areas. The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill-2023 was passed after a brief debate which was responded to by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after the passage of the bill, which amends the Forest (Conservation) Act, amid continued protests by opposition members over the ethnic violence in Manipur.
The bill exempts certain types of land from the provisions of the Act such as forest land along a rail line or a public road maintained by the government providing access to a habitation, or to a rail, and roadside amenity up to a maximum size of 0.10 hectare.
Forest land that will also be exempted includes land situated within 100 km along the international borders, Line of Control, or Line of Actual Control, proposed to be used for construction of strategic linear projects for national importance or security.
It also exempts land up to 10 hectares, proposed to be used for constructing security related infrastructure, or land proposed to be used for constructing defence related projects, camp for paramilitary forces, or public utility projects as specified by central government not exceeding five hectares in a left wing extremism affected area.
Minister Yadav made it clear that there was no contradiction between the Forest (Conservation) Act and the Forest Rights Act as the two legislations supplement each other. The bill also seeks to empower the central government to specify, by order, the terms and conditions subject to which any survey, such as, reconnaissance, prospecting, investigation or exploration including seismic survey, shall not be treated as non-forest purpose. Minister Yadav said the bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March, was referred to a Joint Committee of Parliament, which accepted the legislation without any significant changes.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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