MoEF will give general approval for up to 1 hectare

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Wednesday decided to open a regional office in Dehradun, which will serve the State until permanent steps are taken.

In a meeting with Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna emphasised on the issue of lack of road connectivity in the State. He said restoring connectivity was of utmost importance for sending relief material to remote villages and hamlets otherwise cut off from every kind of aid issued.

Ms. Natarajan, who is also a member of the recently-formed Cabinet Committee overseeing the reconstruction and rehabilitation in the State, said: “Wherever roads have been wiped out or destroyed and need to be restored or require a new alignment because of the flow of the river, the MoEF will give a general approval for diversion of up to 1 hectare [ha] of forest land.”

In lieu of the 1 ha of forest land, the MoEF will take equivalent compensatory land. According to the rules, double the land is taken as compensation, but the norms for Uttarakhand have been eased for at least a year.

However, this would only apply to the roads destroyed in the recent calamity.