fca: Govt ‘eases’ forest clearance rules for road construction | India News – Times of India

NAGPUR: Even as the Centre is set upon diluting the Forest (Conservation) Act (FCA), 1980, which was brought in to stop dereservation of forests in the country, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change has exempted the National Highways Authority of India and state road user agencies from forest clearance if the right of way (RoW) belongs to them.
The clarification issued to state governments on October 26, 2021, by the MoEFCC’s forest conservation division states: “If the ownership of land vests with MoRT&H/NHAI/state road constructing agency, it is not a ‘forest’ as per government records and the same land is under ‘non-forest use’ before October 25, 1980, then provisions of FCA would not apply.” “The decision will open the floodgates for haphazard development and affect wildlife and its corridors,” Kishor Rithe, state wildlife board member, said.
The MoEFCC decision is based on a meeting of the group of infrastructure held on August 24 under the chairmanship of road transport minister Nitin Gadkari to discuss clarity on applicability of FCA over RoW roads, ownership of which rests with the NHAI or state governments.

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