Online forest clearance from July 1
This move is expected to make the approval mechanism transparent and enable authorities to adhere to timelines
After announcing an online environment clearance system for industrial and infrastructure projects, the government will launch a similar platform for forest-related approvals on July 1.
The online forest clearance portal will handle ‘prior approval’ of any project for diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose. “We welcome the online submission and monitoring of environmental clearances. This move is definitely an innovative effort towards achieving a single window nod for transparent and responsive e-governance. We should further boost the pace of urbanisation by granting real estate sector the infrastructure status,” says Getamber Anand, CMD, ATS Group.
Environment experts say quick online clearance is expected to bring about transparency in the approval mechanism of the environment ministry. It will also enable authorities to keep track of the entire process while adhering to the timeline.
Experts say that the software used will clearly show the location of the project and the location of the forest cover in that area. The area that is to be diverted will be overlaid on the forest cover and clearly indicate the location of the proposed project versus the existing project. “There will be ready information for the officer on the forest cover, boundaries of forest, and protected areas that could be deemed forest,” they say. There will be instant and more information available for decision- making and the impact of the project on the forest, including the area beyond the forest boundary. The officer will now be able to access all this information more objectively and transparently.
The online mode will make it easier for officers to provide inputs at each layer in the decision making process.