Deforestation approved without the consent of the inhabitants

Jhe Ministry of State for the Environment, Forests and Climate Change has notified New Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, allowing the diversion of forest land by private agencies without the need for the prior consent of its inhabitants.

The Ministry recently stated, “The State Government or Union Territory Administration, as the case may be, after receiving “final” approval from the Central Government under Section 2 of the Act , and after fulfilling and complying with the provisions of all other laws and rules made thereunder, where applicable, including securing the settlement of duties under the 2006 Act (No 2 of 2007) on Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights), must issue a diversion, assignment of lease or reservation order, where applicable.

The notification, the department said, was intended to reinforce the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980. Previously, central government approval in the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 was effective only after the respective state governments authorized final approval. order for the clearing of forest land, as well as compliance with rehabilitation and reforestation procedures.

With the new Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022, the Central Government’s Forest Diversion Ordinance takes precedence over the respective State Government’s Compliance Rules and Forest Rights Act Regulations.