ABSENCE OF DATA WORKS WELL TO CLEAR PROJECTS
By 2015, MOC and MoEFCC seem to have completed the salami operation. Minutes of a meeting they held to examine the feasibility of excluding very dense forests from mining reveal how they worked to reverse decisions to protect forests. Coal ministry officers were “deputed” to work directly with FSI and decisions were taken to remove coal blocks from inviolate category (see ‘Forest clearance is all about saying Yes’, The government had also more or less junked the concept of Go and No-Go. Now, it goes strictly by the procedures laid down under FCA.
This Act states diversion of forest for non-forest purposes must be scrutinised and cleared by FAC on a case-to-case basis. To improve decision-making, forest area to be diverted is divided in 1 km x 1 km grid and fed into FSI’s GIS-based Decision Support System (DSS) software. “The forest area to be diverted is analysed using DSS. The software has inbuilt layers which take care of parameters like forest cover,