August 3, 2022
Abir Ranjan Biswas’s Special Mention on the concerns related to the Forest Conservation Rules 2022
Sir, the new Forest Conservation Rules, 2022 are due to be placed before the House for approval. Concerns have arisen that these new Rules will make the process easier to divert forest and tribal land towards infrastructure projects, mining and other purposes detrimental to forest conditions and conservation. Concerns also arise of dilution of the historic rights granted under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 to tribal communities and other forest dwelling groups under the guise of streamlining of forest clearance approval processes, obtaining of collective decisions, and placing monetary values on forest tracts for less effective reforestation projects elsewhere.The Forest Conservation Act, 1980 worked to undo the colonial idea of forest as resources to exploit, and viewed them as heritage to be protected. Through this lens, the Act created stringent processes right up to the Union Ministry level which were to be followed prior to diversion of forest land. The Forest Rights Act, 2006 also worked to undo historic injustices to forest dwelling communities and gave them a legal right over their traditional homes and a say in the diversion of these lands. It is imperative that these protections continue to exist for the safety and security of the forests and tribal communities of India. I urge the Government to reconsider the issuance of the Forest Conservation Rules, 2022. Thank you.