In a landmark initiative to ease the process of development projects, three parliamentary committees today jointly directed the government to change the existing mandatory provision of acquiring cultivable land to compensate for forests demolished by the projects.
The joint meeting of the three parliamentary committees — Development Committee, Environment Conservation Committee and Agriculture and Water Resources Committee — today directed the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation to make changes in the existing provision in such a way that the forest area won’t be less and the development projects — especially hydropower projects — won’t be affected.
Addressing the joint meeting held at the hall of the Agriculture and Water Resource Committee at Singha Durbar, Gagan Thapa, who was chairing the meeting, said the meeting directs the MOFSC to devise a provision for promoters to provide the amount of minimum evaluation of the land used by hydropower projects to the concerned body or the land specified by MOFSC as compensation.
Thapa also said the three parliamentary committees also directed MOFSC to make a provision for promoters of hydropower projects to collect the sum required for plantation in the ratio of 1:2 and to cultivate them and give them to a certain authority.
The MOFSC could make use of its own body or develop a separate body to ensure that such money collected for plantation wouldn’t be used for purpose other than plantation at the nearest appropriate land from the project,” Thapa said.
The parliamentary committees have also directed the ministry to make necessary arrangements including work-procedure and directives within a month after coordinating with other stakeholders.
On supplementary Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), the meeting directed MOFSC and Environment Ministry to provide three to six months for the supplementary IEE or EIA, changing the existing provision, but that must not affect the work of the projects and to consider up to 10 per cent changes in the forest area and the number of trees to be cut.
Chairman of Development Committee Rabindra Adhikary said that in the 21st century Nepal can’t wait for decades to complete a mega-project and the nation should complete a big project within five to seven years.
Source : The Himalayan Times.