Odisha seeks parity for state PSUs in compensatory afforestation

Bhubaneswar, Jan 11 (IANS) Odisha on Monday urged the Centre to accord parity for state public sector undertakings (PSUs) with central PSUs in the field of compensatory afforestation so as to expedite forest clearances for development projects.

“It will be in the fitness of things to extend special dispensation given to central PSU projects to state PSU projects since the latter are as important as the central ones for achieving national developmental goals or objectives,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The chief minister said a special dispensation/exemption had been allowed for projects of the central government undertakings that allow for compensatory afforestation on degraded forest land that was double the area of forest land diverted for the projects.

However, in all other cases, including projects of the state government and its undertakings, use of degraded forest land for compensatory afforestation is permitted only if it is certified by the chief secretary that suitable non-forest land is not available in the entire state, he added.

The state government and state PSUs faced difficulty in identifying large chunks of non-forest land for compensatory afforestation, particularly in districts with a large number of mining and industrial projects,” Patnaik said.

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