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
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
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.
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