Mizoram rejects proposed Forest Act amendment

Provisions are in “conflict with the special provisions the State enjoys under Article 371G of the Constitution”, says Mizoram government.

Updated - October 05, 2019 01:55 am IST

Published - October 05, 2019 01:36 am IST - GUWAHATI

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga. File

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga. File

The Mizoram government has rejected the Centre’s proposal to amend the “anti-indigenous people” Indian Forest Act, 1927, as its provisions are in “conflict with the special provisions the State enjoys under Article 371G of the Constitution”.

Forest rights activists and tribal welfare organisations are against the bill that seeks to give higher management powers beyond what is provided in the Forest Rights Act of 2006, threatens to evict forest dwellers and promotes forest produce through private firms.

“The proposal to amend the Indian Forest Act was rejected after a meeting of all stakeholders, including representatives of political parties, civil society organisations and officials,” Mizoram’s Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change T.J. Lalnuntluanga said on Friday.

He also holds the Law and Judicial Department portfolio in the Mizo National Front government.

Officials in his department said there was a consensus in Thursday’s meeting that the proposed amendment, if made law, would directly encroach upon the provisions of Article 371G.

“A reframed Indian Forest Act would challenge Mizo customary laws and practices, ownership and transfer of land as well as the powers conferred upon the autonomous district councils,” a senior officer said, declining to be quoted.

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