Seven years after the Centre’s approval, the forest lands in Himachal Pradesh can now be used for developmental works like building schools or community centre on fulfilling certain conditions.
“Under Forest Rights Act 2006 section 3(2), Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, has agreed that for 13 developmental acts the District Forest Officer of the area can allow the use of forest land,” said Deputy Commissioner Kangra, Ritesh Chouhan.
Chouhan said the DFO is authorised to allow the land for development purposes like building a community centre, schools, panchayat bhawans etc. However, the land acquired for construction purpose must be less than one hectare and work must not involve cutting more than 75 trees. The agencies or public who have initiated the work must plant double the number of trees in order to compensate the fall of trees for the purpose, he said.
The permission was granted by the Government Of India in 2009, but some questions were raised by the state forest department which the government cleared recently. Besides this, Thakur said that the track from Mcleodganj to Triund is also being repaired and its fencing will be completed.
Three new forest rest houses are set to come up, and shall be operational by March 31 next year, he added.