To remove hardships being faced by farmers in making commercial use of their agricultural land in areas that came under the ambit of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday request the union environment and forest minister Prakash Javadekar to waive conditions imposed by the Centre over areas that were under habitation and cultivation.
Sukhbir called upon Javadekar at New Delhi and emphasised that was no law that came in the way of the development of these areas and sought an assurance that the matter would be decided within one month.
Sukhbir also requested the minister to notify ecologically sensitive areas around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary in Chandigarh as the state had already forwarded a proposal for notification of Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) around 13 wildlife sanctuaries to the environment ministry.
He also informed the minister that the proposal was in accordance with the recommendation of centrally-empowered committee of the Supreme Court, which has recommended a 100 meter ESZ around protected areas.
He also urged that the residents of Kansal village should not be burdened further by restrictions imposed under the ESZ in a width of 1km.
“Punjab has already discussed the ESZ matter with Chandigarh administration and Haryana,” he told the minister.
The deputy chief minister also sought to provide exemption to Punjab from Forests Act, 2006, for seeking clearance certificate from the deputy commissioner concerned to the effect of rights of scheduled tribes or traditional forest dwellers in respect of forest areas to be developed as there is no population belonging to scheduled tribes or other traditional tribes in the state as per the census report of the union government.
Javedkar asked the state to resolve this issue at its own by publication of public notices.
Sukhbir also requested Javadekar to adopt the State Forest Research Institute in Ludhiana as a sub-centre of Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, for the promotion of agro-forestry in the region.
Others present at the meeting included Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra; principal secretary, forests and wildlife, Vishvajeet Khanna, resident commissioner Rahul Bhandari and principal chief conservator of forests Kuldip Kumar.