The KSU has written to the Union Minister Mr.Bhupender on the proposed FCA  Act, 1980

Shillong, Oct 31: The Khasi Student Union  has written to the Union Minister Mr.Bhupender Yadav, who is incahrge of  Environment, Forest and  Climate Change, Government of India, objecting on the proposed Forest Conservation Amendment Act, 1980.

In the letter sent to the Union Minister  the Environment and  Cultural Cell of the Khasi Students’ Union -Central Executive Council would like to place before the union government  an objections and seeking clarification on the recent proposal amendment of the Forest Conservation Act 1980 vide notification F.No. FC-11/61/2021-FC Dated 02nd October 2021.

The KSU are the opinions of the Union that  the definition of Forest given in the proposed amendment of FCA 1980 has been diluted and the provisions are more in favor of non-forest purpose and activities and thus, nullify the enactment of the December 12, 1996 ruling of the Supreme Court order.

If the proposed amendment becomes a law, it will result in large scale conversion of forest lands into non-forest purpose. The proposed amendment create loopholes in the form of exemptions to let project proponents escape the need for seeking forest clearance in many cases.

The proposed amendment on the consultative paper has not taking into consideration the tribal and indigenous rights of the Northeast region nor made any exception to the forest lands falling under the Sixth Schedule Areas.

The proposed amendments on the consultative paper appeared less about the conservation of forest but instead to facilitate takeover of Forest lands and make it cheaper and easier for large scale deforestation.

The blanket exemptions of approvals to any strategic and security projects at any international borders are unacceptable as the definition of such projects are ambiguous and opens a massive escape route for the use of forest land for new projects.

The exemption for project that use new technology like the Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) which involves the extraction of natural resources through horizontal drilling is uncertain in the hilly region as it will do more harm to the environment without prior evidence of it being harmless or any assessment impact on the hilly areas, lands and its biodiversity.

Therefore, on the following grounds, the Union would like to object the new amendment proposals of the Forest Conservation Act 1980 and seek more clarification on the above mentioned points and more time for consultation with various stakeholders in the state of Meghalaya and the Northeast region as a whole said Mr. Barikular Nongsiej Chairman and  Secretary  Mr. Samuel Kharshandi, Environment and Cultural Cell Environment and  Cultural Cell Khasi Students’ Union.

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