NGT order for identification and transfer of forests to MP forest department
Ravindra Nath Saxena
This has reference to a media report about felling of 203 trees in Chandanpura area, in violation of NGT order.
The National Green Tribunal through order of 10 October 2017 constituted a committee under the order and relevant document of Original Application No. 59/2014(CZ) (Rashid Noor Khan Vs State of M.P. & 5 Ors.) and Original Application No. 16/2013(CZ) (Tribunal at its own motion vs. Ministry of Environment and Ors). The order of 17 October 2017 has been passed in the matters of Rashid Noor Khan Vs State of M.P.; MA No. 802/2015 & 803/2015 OA No. 16/2003 MA No. 134/2016 (CZ) in 34/2016 Santosh Bharti Vs Union o India. The National Green Tribunal constituted the committee with following members:
- Dr. P.S. Chauhan Former District and Session Judge
- Ravindra Nath Saxena, Former Principle Chief Conservator of Forest, M.P.
- V.P. Kulshrestha Former Joint Director, Town & Country Planning, M.P.
The Committee submitted 2 reports to the NGT in January, 2018 and August, 2018. But the records were not provided to the Committee by concerned State authorities. Ultimately the NGT constituted another Committee due to reasons best known to the NGT.
The Committee suggested following action for conservation of “forest areas:
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I. Methodology adopted by the NGT Committee:
The NGT Committee decided to obtain certain documents, maps, satellite imagery, Gazette Notifications, court orders etc. from the Department of Revenue, Forest and Town & Country Planning. The NGT Committee tried to use and analyze the data of satellite imagery to keep the finding without any prejudice, bias and favour/detriment to anyone.
The NGT Committee carried out on the spot /site inspection to verify records and satellite imagery and maps submitted.
II. Timeline of the submission of final report:
The NGT Committee visualised that it was required to scan record of about 70-80 years. Since the revenue settlement had taken place after 1947 and the forest working plans were been prepared many times after Independence, the matter was very complicated. Since the progress depended upon the availability of records, maps and satellite imagery etc., the National Green Tribunal was apprised about the progress periodically.
The said area of Chandanpura, Kerwa and Mendora is “forest area” as determined by the joint Circular of 13 April 1997 of Revenue and Forest Departments, Government of M.P. (read with the order dated 12th December, 1996 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed in the Civil Writ Petition 202/95, T.N. Godavarman v/s Union of India).
The Bhopal Citizens Forum was having two options:
A. Write to the Chief Secretary, PS (Environment) and PS (Forests) about these issues, or. Also write to Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, GOI.
B. File Intervention Application in the NGT case of Rashid Noor Khan versus State of M.P.
C. File petition in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh.
D. An extraordinary meeting may be called to discuss this matter for further action.
The author, Ravindra Nath Saxena is former Principle Chief Conservator of Forest, M.P.