Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022 Notified
Recently the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022.
These rules have been issued in exercise of the powers conferred under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. These will replace the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003.
Key provisions of the new rules:
- An Advisory Committee and a Regional Empowered Committee will be constituted in each of the Integrated Regional Offices.
- A Screening Committee will be constituted at the level of the State/UT Government. The time limit for review of different types of projects has been fixed.
The following types of projects will be evaluated at the Integrated Regional Office, irrespective of their extent, for the purpose of the survey –
- Similar category projects (roads, highways, etc.);
- Projects with forest land up to 40 hectares;
- and projects that can use forest land with a canopy density of up to 7.
States have been given the responsibility (under the Forest Rights Act, 2006) to address the issues related to forest rights of forest dwellers. Along with this, the state has also been allowed to change the use of forest land.
Compensatory afforestation can be done in another State or Union Territory (whose forest cover is less than 20 percent of its total geographical area) in the following situations:
- if the forest land (to be used for another project) is in a hilly or hilly State/Union territory having more than two-thirds of its geographical area covered by forest cover, or
- it is located in any other State/Union Territory which has more than one-third forest area in its geographical area.
Earlier in January, the Environment Ministry had submitted a proposal to provide the ranking of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA). Under this, the authorities were to be ranked on the basis of speed of approval of project proposals and speed of environment clearance for projects.
Source – The Hindu