National

Forest land use norms eased for Uttarakhand

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 17, 2013

To speed up reconstruction work in flood-hit Uttarakhand, the Environment Ministry has decided to set up a zonal office in Dehradun to facilitate decisions on use of forest land for the purpose.

Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest (Independent Charge) Jayanti Natarajan, who met Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and the State officials in Dehradun on Wednesday, said the whole country was with Uttarakhand in its hour of grief and if she received a proposal for use of forest land to relocate villages under threat of landslide, her Ministry’s attitude would be positive.

She said in such cases, the first priority would be to use civil area, then degraded forest land, followed by forest land.

Also, as a special case, the rule for compensatory forestation would be relaxed for Uttarakhand with regard to reconstruction projects. Under the existing rules, any deforestation for development projects has to be compensated by planting the double amount. In Uttarakhand’s case, this has been reduced by half, a Ministry release said.

Natarajan said her Ministry had also agreed in principle to sanction ‘green bonus’ to Uttarakhand for maintaining green cover.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 17, 2013

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