Central environment ministry reports diversion of 11,467 hectares forest land in 2019 (up to first week of November)
The diversion of forest land for other purposes continued throughout India. A total 11,467.83 hectares (114.68 square kilometre) forest lands were diverted in 22 states between January 1 and November 6, 2019, the Union government admitted.
This diversion was for 932 non-forestry projects under the Forest (Conservation) Act (FCA), 1980, according to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Annual Report 2019-20 (published on the ministry website on June 8, 2020).
More than a third of the diversion (4,514 ha) was for 14 projects was in Odisha, followed by Telangana — 2,055 ha for 11 projects — and Jharkhand (869.99 ha for 11 projects).
The most number of projects — 251 — were in Haryana, which led to the diversion of 519.53 ha. Madhya Pradesh diverted 795.36 ha for 220 projects.
|State||Number of Projects||Total Forest Land approved for diversion (in ha)|
The annual report also gave the category-wise details of the divisions. The largest area of forest land was diverted for irrigation and mining projects.
Twenty-four irrigation projects led to the diversion of 4,287.50 ha, while 22 mining projects led to the diversion of 3,846.09 ha of forest land. Other than this, 227 road construction projects also led to the diversion of 1,487.82.
Guidelines had been issued for encouraging voluntary relocation of villages from the core areas of national parks / wildlife sanctuaries / tiger reserves to forest fringe areas, the report said.
Wherever this happened, the legal status of the new area could be changed to ‘non-forest land’ under FCA. However, no rehabilitation project was undertaken in any of the states that would have required diversion of forest land last year.
There was no conversion of forest villages to revenue villages in 2019, as stipulated under the provisions of the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Forest villages were villages set up by the British Indian government to settle workers inside forests and procure resources like timber more efficiently. There are around 2,500 forest villages across the country.
|Category||Number of cases||Total Land Diverted (Ha.)|
|Forest Village Conversion||0||0|
|Optical Fibre Cable||126||74.12|
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