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Green Signal For Brutanga

Bhubaneswar: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has accorded grant of Stage-II forest clearance for diversion of1524.17 hectares forest land for construction of Brutanga irrigation project in Nayagarh district.

After careful examination of the proposal by the Forest Advisory Committee, ‘in principle’ approval to the proposal under the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980 was granted in August 2010 subject to fulfilment of certain conditions prescribed therein.

Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi had raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Environment Forest & Climate Change, Bhupendra Yadav during his recent visit to New Delhi.

Thanks to the sincere efforts of the ACS Forest, Environment & Climate Change, Satyabrata Sahu, PCCF & HoFF Debidatta Biswal, PCCF(Nodal) Susanta Nanda, the Union Government cleared the Project.

Team Forest worked seriously and the State Government has furnished a compliance report in respect of the conditions stipulated in the in-principle approval and has requested the Central Government to grant final approval.

“On the basis of the compliance report furnished by the State Government…..final’ approval of Central Government under Section 2 of the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980 is hereby granted for non-forestry use of 1524.17 ha of forest land for construction of Brutanga irrigation project in favour of executive engineer, Cuttack investigation division, Cuttack in Nayagarh district of Odisha subject to fulfilment of the conditions,” read a letter issued by the Assistant Inspector General of Forests, Dr. Dheeraj Mittal.

As per the conditions set by the MoEF, legal status of the diverted forest land shall remain unchanged. The Stale Government shall ensure that the Compensatory Afforestation (CA) will be carried out over 1524.17 ha of non-forest land already transferred and mutated in favour of the State Forest Department, it said.

The State Government shall ensure that compensatory afforestation over the non-forest land equal in extent to the forest land being diverted shall be raised within two years from the date of issue of diversion order of the forest land.

At least 1000 plants per hectare will be planted over identified non-forest land and if it is not possible to plant so many saplings in the area identified for CA, the balance saplings will be planted in any other forests as per prescriptions of approved working plan with provision for ten years on subsequent maintenance, it said.

The State Government has been asked to ensure appropriate ameliorative/ mitigative measures to minimize the likely adverse impact of the project on the forests and wildlife in and around the command area to implement the study of the impact on wildlife management.

The State will have to ensure that the user agency shall provide sufficient cross overs at their own cost as advised by the wildlife experts over the link canal to ensure unhindered movement of elephants from and towards the Baispalli Wildlife Sanctuary and also provide sufficient points for watering spots for the wildlife on the sides of canal as advised by the wildlife experts.

The Centre has asked the State to set up at-least three anti-poaching cum-anti-depredation camps at strategic locations and deploy adequate number of forest staff along with sufficient number of supported staff.  It will also need to construct at-least two watch towers at strategic locations and depute adequate numbers of forest staff.

“The forest land proposed to be diverted shall under no circumstances be transferred to any other agency, department or person without prior approval of the Central Government. No damage to the flora and fauna of the adjoining area shall be caused,” the order said.

No labour camp will be established on the forest land and the user agency will provide fuels preferably alternate fuels to the labourers and the staff working at the site so as to avoid any damage and pressure on the nearby forest areas.

Further, the user agency will have to ensure that no damage is caused to the wildlife available in the area because of this project.