Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022. It is conferred by Section 4 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and in supersession of the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003.
Formation of Committees: It constituted an Advisory Committee, a regional empowered committee at each of the integrated regional offices and a screening committee at State/Union Territory (UT) government-level.
Advisory Committee: The role of the Advisory Committee is restricted to advise or recommend with regards to grant of approval under relevant sections in respect of proposals referred to it and any matter connected with the conservation of forests referred to it by the Central government.
Project Screening Committee:
- The MoEFCC has directed the constitution of a project screening committee in each state/UT for an initial review of proposals involving diversion of forest land.
- The five-member committee will meet at least twice every month and will advise the state governments on projects in a time bound manner.
- All non-mining projects between 5-40 hectares must be reviewed within a period of 60 days and all such mining projects must be reviewed within 75 days.
- For projects involving a larger area, the committee gets some more time — 120 days for non-mining projects involving more than 100 hectares and 150 days for mining projects.
Regional Empowered Committees: All linear projects (roads, highways, etc), projects involving forest land up to 40 hectares and those that have projected a use of forest land having a canopy density up to 0.7 — irrespective of their extent for the purpose of survey — shall be examined in the Integrated Regional Office.
Compensatory Afforestation: The applicants for diverting forest land in a hilly or mountainous state with green cover covering more than two-thirds of its geographical area, or in a state/UT with forest cover covering more than one-third of its geographical area, will be able to take up compensatory afforestation in other states/UTs where the cover is less than 20%.