The Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) J&K, a non-political civil society collective, has called for review of some of the provisions of Forest Conservation Amendment Bill 2023 envisaging exemption from application of certain provisions of the Forest Conservation Act 1980.
In a statement, issued to Kashmir News Service (KNS) a spokesperson said that the Amendment Bill is currently under examination before a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) which had put the Bill in public domain for suggestions.
The Committee also visited Srinagar as part of that process.
A delegation of the GCC presented a Memorandum to Chairman of the Committee, Rajendra Agarwal here today.
The statement reads that the Memorandum brings out the need for building in adequate sinews and safeguards in the (proposed) Amendments in the interest of forest conservation and protection of environment, ecology and bio-diversity in the UT of J&K.
“It puts forth serious doubts on the net impact and efficacy of compensatory forestry Clauses as such plantation is more often delayed and does not happen in full measure as envisaged, nor are the same species generally planted as are felled,” it reads.
It added that it also brings out the need for protecting various concessions available, under the Forest Rights Act ‘ 2006, to tribals/ other forest-dependent sections of population, besides that of the traditional grazing tracts /routes of the nomad Gujjars and Bakarwals in J&K so as not to deprive them of their livelihood.
“In their conversation with the chairman JPC, the delegation expressed fears of a direct and deleterious fallout on the already threatened natural resources like glaciers, waterbodies, wetlands in J&K with further depletion in forest cover or conservation in the trail of some of the proposed Amendments.”
The GCC delegation comprised Khurshid Ganie ( IAS), former Advisor to Governor J&K, G. H. Kango, former PCCF, G. J. Nehvi, former Commr/Secy to Govtt., Latief uz Zaman Deva, former Chairman PSC, Khaliq u Zaman, former Prpl Dist & Sessions Judge, and Mohammad Rafi, former Director /Mission Advisor, School Education who is also the Secretary GCC.