On­line for­est clear­ance from July 1

This move is ex­pected to make the ap­proval mech­a­nism trans­par­ent and en­able au­thor­i­ties to ad­here to time­lines

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani

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.

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