Bhubaneswar: To fast track the execution of development projects in areas coming under FRA 2006, the state government has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for timely submission and approval of forest diversion proposals.
Forest and Environment department has issued the SOP and asked all officials and departments concerned to follow it while seeking forest diversion clearance for execution of development works like construction of schools, hospitals, Anganwadi centres, fair price shop, electric & telecom lines, community centres, roads and drinking water projects in the areas falling under Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
Through the SOP, the government targets to provide forest diversion clearance within 6 to 8 weeks from the date of submission of the application.
Before submission of the proposal for forest diversion, the concerned agency has to put it before the Gram Sabha for adopting a resolution to that effect. At least half of the members must attend the Gram Sabha and agree to the proposal within two weeks.
On receipt of a recommendation of the proposal by the Gram Sabha, the user agency will submit the proposal to the concerned Range Forest Officer (RFO) of the area along with the resolution adopted by the Gram Sabha. This activity should be completed within a week, as per the SOP.
Within another week, the RFO will have to carry out site inspection of the proposed area to opine on the acceptance of the proposal. The Range Forest Officer (RFO) concerned will submit the proposal and his recommendation to the concerned Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), who will send it to the district level committee after due verification.
As per the process laid down, the district-level panel will meet and take decision on the proposal and make necessary correction on the map. After that, the DFO will inform about the decision to the RFO and it will go down accordingly.
The approved forest diversion land cannot be used for any other purpose and the Forest department will take back the land if the activity for which the land was diverted is not started within one year of handling over the land to the user agency.
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