GUIDELINES FOR FOREST CLEARNCE UNDER FOREST CONSERVATION ACT AND RULES
It will be observed that the Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules are very brief and concise covering only tow pages each, but have very far-reaching implications on mining and industrial development, especially in backward areas. There was a lot of hue and cry from State Governments, project proponents and even from the other ministries of Central Governments, e.g. Ministry of Mines, Coal, Steel, Power, Industry etc. There were large numbers of litigations at various levels of court from SDJM, to the apex Supreme Court. Though the Act and Rules were made in 1980 and 1981, there were no guidelines for uniform action at various State levels. Probably in 1988, a detailed Circular was issued to all the chief secretaries from MOEF giving some guidelines.
Meanwhile, National Forest Policy was enunciated in 1988 and some amendments were made in the Forest Rules to delegate powers to Regional Officers of MOEF upto one Hectare, without going through formal procedure of taking advice from Forest Advisory Committee. The rule was further relaxed upto 5 Hectares for other projects except mining. There was no delegation for mining projects. Subsequently MOEF has brought out a comprehensive guideline on the administration of Forest Act and Rules in October-1992.