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The special committee of ministejrs
appointed to take care of the Ministry of
environment and forests' (MEF) proposal to
provide 2.5 million hectares of
degraded forest lands to the paper
industry for captive plantations seems to
have taken note of the NGO lobby's demands
not to support the decision.
Sources say that there were 'no takers'
for Kamal Nath's proposal at the committee's August 2 meeting.
Ministers V C Shukla, Jagannath Mishra and Sitaram Kesri reacted strongly to the proposal. Their decision is influenced by the fact that the move will affect millions of farmers and forest dwellers.
in a recently concluded national NGO workshop in Bangalore organised by the National Committee for Protection of Common Land Resources, chief election commissioner T N Seshan mooted the idea of evolving a policy for regenerating forest lands for conserving biodiversity.
M S Swaminathan, renowned agricultural scientist, had a closed door meeting with Kamal Nath on August 22, re-emphasising the points made by Anil Agarwal - eminent environmentalist and director, Centre for Science and Environment, C H Hanumantha Rao - noted economist and former member, Planning Commission, and himself, detailing arguments against captive plantations.
On August 23, Nath said in parliament that no forest land has been provided to private parties or industries. Insiders claim that Nath never really favoured the proposal, but gave in to the state governments' pressure and that Nath has asked the industries to canvas independ ently for their cause.