TSR Subramanian's Green law panel

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Introduction

  • To review 5 Acts
  1. Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972
  2. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974
  3. Forest ( Conservation) Act 1980
  4. Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981
  5. Environment (Protection) Act 1986
  • Will also suggest, how to amend existing laws to incorporate various court orders.
  • Review amendments to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, to ensure its compliance with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( CITES).

Recommendations

FC Act

  • Identify and pre-specify ‘no go’ forest areas, mainly comprising Protected areas and forest cover over 70% canopy. It will save time and litigation.
  • Definition of forest in FC act is not clear. The question of the extent of tree cover on a certain piece, hitherto seen as non-forest land to bring it into the ambit of ‘forest’ is not defined or understood.The definition should be made clear incorporating state specific parameters. Should not include trees raised on private property.Plantations on the sides of roads, canals and other linear structures carried out on State government land which has been kept in reserve for expansion purposes should be de-notified.Private institution are reluctant to invest in forestry or plantations, apprehending loss of their land being declared as ‘forest’
  • there is economic incentive for increased community participation in farm and social forestry programmes. there is no bar on raising plantations of poplar or eucalyptus, this should be extended to include some other indigenous species also. Farm forestry is not likely to crowd out agricultural crops due to its longer gestation period; Should be allowed to fell, transport and sell.
  • Plantation of approved species on private lands could be considered for compensatory afforestation with facility for ‘treeland’ trading.
  • The quantum of NPV for compensatory afforestation needs to be sharply increased. A reliable mechanism for ensuring that CA is actually implemented, utilising either private or forest land, needs to be put in place.

WLP Act

  • suggestion for creating a new Schedule for including the Appendices of CITES.An expert group should review the existing Schedules and address discrepancies relating to several species and sub species.
  • Regarding the issue of tackling damage to agriculture and farmland, the MoEF&CC may issue circulars to all States apprising them of the legal position, suggesting that they may take appropriate action based on legal provisions under section 11(b) ie. hunting of animal with permission.
  • Preparation of Wildlife Management plans should be made mandatory and a provision to this effect inserted in the WLP Act. such a plan will also be of immense use when examining the need for a project linked wild life plan in respect of proposals for diversion of forest land. The information may also be added to GIS.
  • prior permission of the Central Government is needed for alteration of any boundary of a Sanctuary or National Park. Should be amended to permission from the Central Government would only be necessary when the State Government proposes to reduce the boundaries.
  • It is proposed that manufacture and possession of leg and mouth traps should be completely prohibited, except where they are required for visual display for educational purposes.
  • Officers entrusted with the task of settlement of rights should be given minimum tenure of 2 years. Regular review of such work should be done to ensure completion within time.
  • Expert status for the Wildlife Institute of India (WII): No-Requirement for being physically present in court in any case as WII is already short staff.
  • It is also difficult for state police and forest authorities to keep adequate control across national borders to check trans-boundary smuggling of wildlife parts. It is proposed that agencies stationed at the borders be empowered under the Act to intercept wildlife & their parts/ products/ derivatives and detain the criminals involved.
  • Polythene bags and plastic bottles may be added to the banned list under the act
  • necessity for creating a buffer zone between protected areas and geographies of human settlements and activities. This is necessary to ensure safe and harmonised wildlife conservation. This is aimed at reducing/ eliminating man-animal conflict as well as to ensure safety of human life and property.MoEF&CC to take immediate steps for demarcation of ecosensitive zones around all the protected areas;
  • Nature and animal worship has been part of the national culture.The Schedules should provide appropriate provision for taking into account the needs of local festivals, subject to no harm or injury to animals.

Other recommendations

  • Special treatment of linear project
  • Procedure for appeal - creation of tribunal
  • Judicial review role of NGT
  • Create Umbrella Law - Environment law (Management) Act, it will have institutions like National Environment management authority and State Environment Management Authority.

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