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Nagaland House passes resolution against implementation of amended forest Act in state

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HT Correspondent

DIMAPUR, Sept 14: The Nagaland Legislative Assembly passed a
11-point resolution on the Forest (Conservation) Amendment
Act 2023, saying the Act would only be applicable to the state
subject to the constitutional guarantees provided in Article
371(A) of the Constitution of India.
Environment, forest and climate change minister CL John
moved the resolution on the floor of the House on the last day
of the second session of the 14 th  assembly in Kohima on
Thursday.
The House was of the view that the term ‘land and its
resources’ mentioned in Article 371(A) include forest lands and
its resources and that the application of Section 1(A)(2) of the
amended Act to Nagaland would jeopardise the existing rights
of tribal communities on their forest lands and its resources.
It resolved that the government of India must assure that
provisions contained in Section 1(A)(2) of the Forest
(Conservation) Amendment Act 2023 shall not be used to the
detriment of the state and its people.
It was also resolved to explore various options including the
state enacting its own Act for the purpose of having its own
compensatory mechanism wherein any diversion of even
private or community-owned forest land for non-forestry
purposes and damage to the environment is suitably
compensated by the user agency, in addition to availing of
benefits of the existing schemes of the central government in
this regard.

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According to the resolution, the amended Act had inserted a
new Section, Section 1(A)(2), which exempted from the
operation of the principal Act such forest lands situated within
a distance of 100 km along international borders, Line of
Control or Actual Line of Control, as the case may be, proposed
to be used for construction of strategic linear project of
national importance and concerning national security.
The exempted area of 100 km from international borders will
cover most parts of Nagaland where the ownership of most of
the forest lands vests with tribal communities, it said.
The resolution added that a consultative meeting with various
stakeholders on the Act was held on September 1, 2023, where
the representatives of the various Naga tribal
hohos/organisations expressed their strong objection to the
application of Section 1(A)(2) of Act in Nagaland on the ground
that it is likely to infringe on traditional ownership and usage of
forest lands and its resources in the state of Nagaland.

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