• The Ministry of the Environment has suggested amending the Forest Conservation Act to remove the necessity for previous government permission for border infrastructure building on forest property. It creates delays in the delivery of key projects, according to the Ministry.
  • Within the next 15 days, the Environment Ministry has sought opinions on the proposed modifications to the Forest Conservation Act from States and UTs, as well as all interested parties.
  • In addition, the ministry has suggested that states be allowed to authorise non-forest usage of forest land for the implementation of strategic and security projects that must be finished within a certain time frame. Safaris, zoos, and forest training infrastructure have also been recommended to be removed from the category of non-forestry activities.



  • Before any State or UT order on diversion, de-reservation, or assignment of a lease of any forest land or the use of forest land for non-forest activities, the Central Government must provide its permission under the Forest Conservation Act.
  • While noting that there have been many violations of the Act’s provisions, the Environment Ministry stated that it will increase the severity of the penalty to deter law-breaking. The infractions will be non-bailable and cognizable, according to the Ministry, and will carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail.



  • The Environment Ministry is also intending to exclude properties bought before 1980, when the Forest Conservation Act was originally enacted, from prior government permission. It has sparked dissatisfaction in government agencies such as the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Railways, according to the ministry.
  • The Ministry said that the interpretation of the Act’s scope of applicability over roads, trains, and other rights of way (RoW) is causing considerable discontent in the Railway Ministry, Road, Transport & Highways Ministry, and other ministries.
  • The majority of these RoWs are said to have been legally purchased by these organisations long before 1980, with the explicit intention of establishing/constructing rail lines and roads, according to the report. Part of the property was utilised for the purpose for which it was purchased before 1980, while the remainder was kept undeveloped for future expansions and projects.
  • The ministry went on to say that any existing trees or forest on the remaining land were left alone (before 1980) and that the blank areas were planted under various government initiatives.
  • With the passage of the Forest Conservation Act and the Supreme Court’s clarification of the Act’s scope of application, all such areas now require prior clearance from the Central Government for non-forestry uses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *