Forest Conservation Act 1980 : Meghalaya-Based Environmental Organization Expresses Concern Against Proposed Amendments

Posted in Featured, Meghalaya, Northeast

 

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Green-Tech Foundation, a Meghalaya-based Non-Profit Environmental Conservation Organization expressed its strong concern against the implementation of proposed amendments in Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

It requested citizens to send opinions regarding the same to concerned authorities of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), before this proposed amendment transforms into a law.

According to a press release issued by the organization, the proposed amendment actually showcases the mischievous motive of MoEFCC.

The notification further adds, MoEFCC had earlier violated several acts such as – Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy (PLCP) 2014; Schedule VIII to the Constitution of India; Not releasing the said proposed amendments by way of an ‘Official Press Release’ or clear notice in public domain, and published it only in the Ministry’s website.

“It was only upon intimidation/appeals by the public and NGOs from across the country that the MoEFCC had to give in by extending the date of deadline from 15 days to 30 days (new deadline is 01.11.2021). And now, it has to publish the Proposed Amendments to the Forest Conservation Act,1980 in 22 languages for Consultation from the public. (This may be just a minor achievement to many). What is preposterously sorrowful is that the Environment Minister and the Forest Department of the state government haven’t spoken a word upon this till date. Leave alone him taking part in seeking extension date for the said consultation. Aren’t they aware of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980? How crucial this law is? Or Are they waiting for someone else to make a move?” – reads the release.

“It seems that a copy of the ‘Consultation Paper in Proposed Amendments in Forest Conservation Act, 1980’ hasn’t reached their office to be studied. In the previous session of the Assembly, Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Shri. James Sangma convinced the house to not be wary about the ‘Palm Oil – Palm Tree Project’ because the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 is still intact. It may be that he isn’t aware of the proposed amendments aimed to change the existing act. There are many mediums to be affected by the amendment of the said act. We clearly acknowledge that the government has sought information and is well aware of this matter however, it’s lackadaisical behaviour seems in prevalence.” – added the release.

It is pertinent to note that on October 2, 2021, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) released a consultation paper, asserting about proposed amendments in Forest Conservation Act, 1980 with reference to the amendments made in 1988 in this Act.

The Act aims to bring significant changes to forest governance in India including facilitating private plantations for harvesting, and extraction of oil and natural gas deep beneath forest land.

Centre has considered it significant for the development of border infrastructure on forest land, saying it causes delay in the implementation of critical projects.

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