Shimla: Expressing concern over the delay in granting forest clearances under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA), Himachal Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has emphasized on evolving a mechanism to expedite the clearance cases of FCA, so that work on developmental projects in the State could be started at the earliest and completed within the stipulated time period.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was presiding over a meeting of senior officers of the Forest Department here on Friday evening. 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. He 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.
State Government will strike a balanced approach between development and environment conservation while implementing various projects of utmost importance, said the Chief Minister. He said that there should be no unnecessary delay in the forest clearance and asked the officers to speed up the process. He said that 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 22nd 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.
Special attention should be paid on afforestation drives keeping in consideration a rapid change in climatic condition worldwide, which was a matter of grave concern. Steps should be taken towards environmental conservation, said the Chief Minister.
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. He said that the plantation should be taken in accordance with the altitude of the site so that the survival rate of plants is better and in the coming time more sites should be identified. The Forest Department should continuously monitor the sites of the plantation, said the CM.
Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, Anirudh Singh, Principal Secretary, Onkar Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Bharat Khera, Principal Secretary, Devesh Kumar, Principal Secretary Law, Rajeev Bhardwaj, OSD to Chief Minister, Gopal Sharma, Special Secretary, C.P Verma, PCCF (HOFF), Ajay Srivastava, PCCF (Wildlife), Rajeev Kumar, CEO CAMPA, Nagesh Kumar, APCCF (Finance), S.K. Kapta and other senior officers were also present amongst others.