GUWAHATI, Oct 1 - The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has told the Kolkata-based Eastern Zone (EZ) Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it has not received any proposal from the Assam Government for diversion of forest land for training of river Beki on the Left Bank and activation of the river Manas and Hakua at Mathanguri within the Manas National Park.
The MoEFCC stated this in its reply to the appeal filed by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury (Application No. 25 of 2014) on using forest land for the purpose of training of the Beki and activating the Manas and Hakua in Manas National Park at Mathanguri.
Moreover, the MoEFCC said in its reply affidavit that no proposal was received by the National Board of Wildlife, nor any team of the MoEFCC has ever conducted any site inspection for the purpose.
The MoEFCC reply affidavit filed by the Conservator of Forests (Central) in its North Eastern Regional Office, Shillong, stated that as per the provision of the Forest Conservation (FC) Act, 1980, prior approval of the Central Government is required for diversion of forest land for any non-forestry purpose. Any use of forest land for non-forestry purpose without obtaining prior approval of the Central Government under Section 2 of the Act amounts to violation of the FC Act.
This Section of the Act has provided that without prior approval of the Central Government, no State Government has the power to de-reserve a reserved forest or any of its part. No forest land or any portion of it may be used for any non-forest purpose, said the above Section of the FC Act, among others.
Rohit Choudhury in his appeal had pleaded before the NGT Bench that a direction should be issued to the Water Resources Department (WRD) of Assam to stop all activities undertaken for training of river Beki on the Left Bank and activating river Manas and Hakuwa at Mathanguri.
He also pleaded for a direction to the Assam WRD for restoring the area selected as the site for the proposed training and restoration of the above rivers within the Manas National Park, to its original condition.
Besides, he also pleaded for initiation of action against the officials of the State Government, including those of the Manas Tiger Reserve for �wilful violation� of the FC Act, 1980.