The Himachal Pradesh government has withdrawn its appeal against the recent judgment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) filed in the apex court. Reaching out on telephone, Coordinator Himalaya Niti Abhiyan Guman Singh told Daily Post that on the intervention of AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi the state government was compelled to withdraw the appeal filed against recent order of NGT which mandated recognition of forest rights under FRA of tribal farmers and directed the state government to seek Gram Sabha approval for Kashang Hydro Electric project in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Guman Singh stated that HNB state committee in its meeting held on September 10 passed a resolution and welcomed Rahul Gandhi for his intervention in the matter and hoped that Congress Party would implement Forest Rights Act-2006 in letter and spirit. He also said that the state conference of community forest and FRA would be held at Shimla in October next. He further revealed that HNA opposed the stand of the state government and wrote a letter to Rahul Gandhi requesting therein to intervene in the matter on September 6, 2016.
HP Power Corporation Limited, a body of the state government had preferred an appeal before the apex court against the order of the NGT in Civil Petition No 8345 HPPCL versus Paryavaran Sauraksha Samiti, Lippa of May 4 last.
The appeal was heard by a bench headed by the Chief Justice of Apex Court on September 5, 2016. The counsel for the state stated before the court that the FRA Act did not apply to the area and NOC given to the people got changed their minds. Appeal was listed for hearing on September 9. On the other hand HNA had contested that rights recognised under FRA have legal sanctity and cannot be legally denied.
These can only be acquired by duly compensating under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act-2013. Guman Singh further revealed that Kashang Hydro Electric Project was constructed by HPPCL which was funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). The NGT has allowed the appeal filed against the grant of Forest Clearance for the diversion of 17.68 hectares of forest land for 130mw Kashang Integrated Hydro Electric Project in Kinnaur district. The NGT in its verdict concluded that MOEF granted final forest clearance without following the procedure stipulated in the order of 3.8.2009 issued by the Ministry of Environment .
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