Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change today launched a web portal for online submission and monitoring of forest clearance proposals, thereby minimizing the need for human interface between project proponents and officials dealing with Forest Clearance proposals in the Central and the State Governments.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Javadekar said that these measures were intended to bring in more transparency, efficiency and accountability in grant of regulatory clearances. Mr. Javadekar further said that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change was taking the necessary measures to fast track the process of regulatory clearances viz. the forest clearance, the environment clearance and the wildlife clearance, for a faster economic growth, while ensuring that development and conservation of environment go hand in hand and in a transparent manner.
Elaborating further, Mr. Javadekar highlighted some of the recent decisions taken by the Ministry to simplify the procedure of forest clearances. To address the security and strategic interests of the nation, the Ministry had accorded general approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest land required for construction and widening of two lane roads by the BRO/ other agencies whom the Ministry of Defence entrusts the job , in the area falling within 100 kilometres aerial distance from the LAC and widening of link roads, between Border roads in the area within 100 kilometre aerial distance from the LAC and National Highways/State Highways/Other State Roads. The Minister also stated that creation of good road network along the LAC will help the Defence forces to guard the International borders more effectively.
Mr. Javadekar also stated that the grant of similar general approval for diversion of forest land required for setting up of Army Stations, Ammunition Depots, Training Centres and other support infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, residential quarters etc. within 100 km aerial distance from the LAC was under active consideration of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
Elaborating further, the Minister stated that in order to facilitate the concerned States to effectively tackle the problem of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), general approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of up to 5 hectares of forest land for construction of all categories of public roads by Government Departments in 117 LWE affected districts has been extended.
The web portal (www.forestsclearance.nic.in) which has been launched today for online submission and monitoring of forest clearance proposals will enable real time monitoring of the Forest Clearance proposals to ensure that time-lines stipulated for processing of these proposals by various authorities in the Centre and State Governments are adhered to. Valuable time will thus not be lost in seeking additional information from the States and project proponents, once a proposal seeking Forest Clearance has been accepted by concerned authority in the State Government.
To facilitate smooth transition, for the initial one month, the project proponents will have option to file forest clearance applications in both online mode through this portal or in the offline mode as is being done by them till today. From 15th August 2014 onwards, all new forest clearance proposals will be accepted only through online mode through this portal.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has initiated several other measures to make the process for grant of Forest Clearance more transparent and objective manner. To facilitate informed decisions on forest clearance proposals, the Ministry through the Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun is developing a GIS based decision support system, consisting of GIS layers on forest cover, forest types, biological richness, integrity of forest landscapes, geo-referenced boundaries of the Protected Areas, Eco-sensitive Zone of Protected Areas, notified tiger corridors, other important migratory corridors, habitat of rare and endangered flora and fauna etc.
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