NATIONAL

GIS-based system for forest clearances

Union Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday launched the first version of the Geographical Information System (GIS)-based Decision Support System (DSS) for forest clearance.

Mr. Javadekar said that this step was the latest in a series of key initiatives undertaken by his Ministry to fast-track decision-making with respect to effective forest management, environment protection and biodiversity conservation.

An official statement quoted the Minister as saying that in order to facilitate the needs of the critical sectors, necessary amendments had been carried out to balance environment protection, development, logistical needs and requirements.

To decentralise the process of granting forest clearances, the Ministry constituted empowered committees at regional levels and delegated decision-making powers to them for linear projects like railway lines, transmission lines, highways, and pipelines.

Mr. Javadekar said information on eco-sensitive zones would be made available through the DSS in its second phase.

The system would have the Net Present Value of forests, important wildlife habitats outside the Protected Area network, apart from the recorded forest area boundaries.

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