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Himachal wants implementation of Forest Rights Act ahead of setting up mega hydro projects

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The Times Of India
17th October, 2019 20:00 IST

SHIMLA: Ahead of setting up major hydro projects in Himachal Pradesh including tribal areas, state government wants to settle the forest rights issue of local people. Chief secretary Dr Shrikant Baldi on Thursday has directed the deputy commissioners of Lahaul-Spiti , Kullu and Kinnaur to settle forest rights in their districts under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) as major hydro projects are to be implemented in these districts.

While presiding over a meeting with deputy commissioners of these three districts through video conferencing to resolve the issues being faced by them at local level in implementation of various projects, Baldi directed the deputy commissioner Kullu to get settled the forest rights along with some other agendas and convince the local Panchayat for taking further step under Nakthan Hydro Electric Project .

Similarly, he also directed the deputy commissioner Kinnaur to convince the Gram Panchayat to complete their quorum and get settled the forest rights. For this purpose, a special meeting of Gram Sabha should be organised and 2-3 agenda items of people's interest should be taken up alongwith FRA issue irrespective of any project, he added.

While reviewing the Jispa Dam Project of Lahaul Spiti, Baldi said that project has been declared National Project by the Union ministry of water resources. He directed the deputy commissioner to talk to local people and resolve the issues, and get survey done under this Project.

Regarding shifting of army ammunition depot at Powari to Lippa in Kinnaur, it was informed that the district administration and Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) had jointly completed all necessary formalities for diversion of forest land and submitted the complete case online to Forest Department. However, Nodal Officer of Forest Department had raised one observation regarding Eco-Sensitive Zone which was still pending. The Chief Secretary directed that the case may be sent to Chief Wildlife Warden, Shimla regarding the observation of Eco-Sensitive Zone.

Similarly, regarding dumping of excavated muck at reclaimed dumping site no 4, it was informed that 243 trees and 93 saplings, and four prefabricated sheds on this site are to be removed only then dumping can be done.

Earlier, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Rampur had accorded permission for felling of trees, but later cancelled the same. Therefore, the Chief Secretary directed to send the matter immediately to further authorities without any delay so that the permission could be accorded for tree felling on priority. Apart from this, regarding various demands of people of Lippa area, Baldi directed to fulfill the reasonable demands as per rules.

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