Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes, Ichhapura village, Jharigam tehsil, Nabarangpur district, Odisha, 31/05/2022

  • 31/05/2022

Order of the National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata) in the matter of Keshab Ganda Vs State of Odisha & Others dated 31/05/2022.

The allegation in the Original Application is that 0.74 acres of Kisam Bad jungle situated in plot No. 274, khata No. 234 in Ichhapura village under Jharigam tehsil, has been diverted for non-forestry purposes without prior approval from the Central Government for forest clearance.

The Divisional Forest Officer, Nabarangapur Forest Division in the affidavit filed before the court said that a diversion proposal was accepted for construction of a community centre, which is less than one hectare. The tribunal said that the affidavit does not mention whether clearance from the central government has been taken for construction of the community centre and whether there was a recommendation from the gram sabha for the purpose.

"The issue is as to how the Divisional Forest Officer, Nabarangapur Forest Division, has usurped the power of the Central Government,' the NGT order said.

The NGT directed the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to file an affidavit on the matter within a period of three weeks, stating as to whether any sanction was granted by it for diversion of forest land over the plot in question. The MoEF&CC has also been asked to clarify whether diversion of forest  area below one hectare can be permitted under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 "in supersession of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980."