Steep rate for infra in sanctuaries

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: To open up protected forest areas for development work by increasing the cost of diversion of forest land, the Centre said that the project proponents can pay ten times forest value in national parks and five times in sanctuaries for using it for infrastructure projects.  

The environment ministry has come up with the upward revision of the Net Present Value (NPV) rates to be realized in lieu of diversion of forest land. The revision comes following a Supreme Court order in 2008.

Welfare projects like the construction of schools, hospitals, underground drinking water pipelines, and underground mining were exempted based on certain conditions.  

As per the ministry directives, the revised rates shall be charged to the extent of ten times the normal NPV payable in the case of National Parks and five times in the case of Sanctuaries.

“The use of non-forest land falling within the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries may be permitted on payment of an amount equal to the NPV payable for the adjoining forest area. In respect of non-forest land falling within marine national parks/ Wildlife sanctuaries, the amount shall be five times the NPV payable for the adjoining forest.” 

An environment expert expressed concerns about the order. “A mere upward revision of NPV rates is neither a deterrent against forest diversion, nor does it ensure that the bonafide forest rights lost in the process of permitting non-forest use have been duly compensated for,” said Kanchi Kohli, of CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program.