Judgement of the National Green Tribunal regarding diversion of forest land for construction of Dalli-Rajhara –Rawghat Railway Line, Chhattisgarh, 14/09/2018

Judgement of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Hira Singh Markam & Others Vs Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change & Others dated 14/09/2018. In this Appeal filed on 10.11.2014, the applicant has challenged the order of Forest Clearance granted by the State of Chattisgarh on 23.05.2014 for the diversion of 83.12 ha. of additional forest land in East Bhanupratappur forest division for the non-forest purpose under Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act. 1980 for construction of the Phase I of the Dalli-Rajhara –Rawghat Railway Line.

NGT while dismissing the Application said that the Dalli-Rajhara-Rawghat Railway Line involves linear diversion of use of forest land and the appellant has nowhere contended that the tribals or the forest dwellers in the forest land involved fall in the category of Primitive Tribal Groups or Pre- Agriculture Communities, therefore, the current proposal of diversion of 83.12 ha, of forest land for construction of this railway line is exempt from the requirements of consent of Gram Sabha. Moreover there is no requirement of pre- settlement of the rights of the Scheduled Tribes or the Forest Dwellers of the area involved in the project in the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.