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Himachal CM unhappy with delay in forest clearances

: The CM said the State government would strike a balanced approach between development and environment conservation.

SNS | Shimla |

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Friday expressed concern over the delay in granting forest clearances under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA).

Presiding over a meeting of the Forest Department, he emphasized a mechanism to expedite the clearance FCA cases, so that work on developmental projects in the State could be started at the earliest and completed within the stipulated time period.

He said that timeline for FCA clearance must be adhered to, in cases of construction of medical colleges, tourism projects, educational institutions, roads, and electric charging stations.

Sukhu directed the Forest Department officers to ensure time-bound FCA clearances so that the developmental projects could be taken in hand well in time, thereby benefiting the people of the state and pave the way for implementing the development projects.

The State government will strike a balanced approach between development and environment conservation while implementing various projects of utmost importance, said the Chief Minister.

According to the Chief Minister, the concerned department would appoint a nodal officer, while the DFO of the concerned division would provide support and handholding, in a time-bound manner to avoid the delays in implementing the projects, where FCA is necessary.

While reviewing the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), it was apprised to the Chief Minister that the State share of Rs 1660 crore up to 22 February, 2019, has been transferred from the public account of the National Authority to the public account of the State Authority.

He asked to spend the funds on the energy-saving sector from CAMPA and directed to convene a meeting of the governing body of state authority soon.

Directions were issued, that henceforth, all civil and other construction works of forest department will now be executed by the PWD and other executing agencies.

Chief Minister was apprised that in the first phase, Forest Department has identified 15 sites where plantation will be done on 256.50 hectares of land.