New forest rules aimed at corporatisation: Brinda Karat

The amended rules have eliminated rights of gram sabhas and tribals, says CPI(M) leader

Published - July 11, 2022 07:17 pm IST - New Delhi

CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat.

CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Opposing the amended Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, in a letter to Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav, has said the amended rules were aimed at corporatisation and not conservation.

Ms. Karat said “it is objectionable, condemnable and unacceptable how the amended rules have totally eliminated the rights of gram sabhas and of tribal communities and others living in forests.”

The new rules stipulate a two-stage approval process — in principle approval and final approval. Shockingly, Ms. Karat said that to get either of these approvals from the Central government, in the list of compliances, the condition for consent of the gram sabha had been completely eliminated.

‘No responsibility’

The tribal community too has no say, Ms. Karat said, pointing at the relevant clauses in the new rules. “The rules say that the State government should consider all issues having direct and indirect impact on forest, wildlife and environment but no mention of tribals here. Therefore at no stage is there any right of tribals or OTFDs living in the forest to give or not give consent,” she added. It is the Central government which will give its final approval and collect the payment for compensatory afforestation with no responsibility whatsoever for protection of tribal rights.

The CPI(M) leader said that the changes were brought in without prior consultation with those who would be affected. “The procedure of parliamentary approval is reduced to a mere formality. Given the consequences which will surely arise once these rules are implemented, the government should put them in abeyance till there is a public discussion and opinions elicited from all those sections likely to be affected,” Ms. Karat has urged.

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