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Against SC orders, state gives away Rs7 cr forest land for free


Nagpur: In a blatant violation of Supreme Court directives, the BJP-Shiv Sena govt in the state diverted 24.43 hectare (60.39 acre) forest land in Hingna worth Rs7 crore free of price for 2 central govt initiatives, that too without clearance beneath the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FRA).
The land has been diverted for non-forestry purposes. At the present price, the web provide worth (NPV) of 24.43 hectare zudpi land comes to Rs1.53 crore and compensatory afforestation Rs5.39 crore. The land has been given for a paltry annual lease of Rs1.

According to papers in ownership of TOI, as per 7/12 extract, 59.50-hectare zudpi land in Bhansoli area is in ownership of the revenue department. Of this, 24.43 hectare (60.39 acre) (identical to over 24 soccer fields) has been leased out illegally.

Of the 24.43 hectare land, 18.37 hectare (45.39 acre) was once allotted on January 30, 2017, to deputy inspector basic (DIG), Border Security Force (BSF), Bhuj (Gujarat), for a 30-year lease which can also be prolonged too.

On March eight, 2019, 6.06 hectare (15 acre) land was once leased out to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) for its cutting-edge coaching institute for fuel-efficient riding. The venture is among the six institutes to be arrange in the nation. Both the initiatives have cupboard sanction.

The BPCL had first sought the land on December 20, 2016. Nagpur district collector pursued the subject and really helpful the land on March five, 2019. Immediately on March eight, the state issued letter to allot the forest land to BPCL.

“The land has been allotted without our wisdom. We got here to find out about it recently and the notification leasing out the said land will have to had been topic to clearance beneath Forest Conservation Act (FCA) as per apex courtroom directives,” said forest ministry officials.

The land was once diverted without even informing the state forest department, which is custodian of such lands. There had been several reminders to revenue department by the government at hand over such lands to the forest department, however of the 1,78,000 hectare zudpi forest in Vidarbha, the revenue department has handed over simplest 92,000 hectare to the forest department and over 86,000 hectare remains to be in its ownership.

Earlier, the revenue department diverted huge tracks of such lands for non-forestry purposes till apex courtroom dominated in TN Godavarman case in 1996 that the phrase ‘forest’ should be understood consistent with its dictionary that means and hence FCA is acceptable to such lands.

“Any land bearing forest, irrespective of possession with revenue department, forest clearance needs to be taken. But revenue department doesn’t take say of the forest department whilst dispensing zudpi land in its ownership,” senior forest officials instructed TOI.

As the zudpi land issue remains to be being contested in the Supreme Court, MoEFCC’s Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has rejected zudpi land diversion proposals from the area.

The state govt is of the view that zudpi lands don't seem to be forests and hence want such lands out of the purview of FCA, 1980. Even as the state has been contesting to simplify procedural requirement for diversion of all such lands, there is not any reduction and hence forest clearance is acceptable.

“Once forest land is written off, it's long past without end and nobody will be capable to create this land in long run. If forest lands had been encroached or illegally diverted, the state will have to make amends for this loss. Even if the state is forced to surrender small patches, there's need to take identical spaces next to protected spaces (PAs) in exchange,” said environmentalist Debi Goenka.

FOREST SOLD FOR A SONG

* District collector allots 24.43 hectare zudpi forest land in Bhansoli in Hingna close to Nagpur


* 18.37 hectare allotted to BSF, Gujarat, in 2017 and six.06 hectare allotted closing month to BPCL for coaching institute


* NPV and compensatory afforestation price of the said land comes to Rs7 crore


* The land has been leased free of price. No clearance has been taken beneath Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980




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