Kathmandu – Complaints of the Ministry of Forest and Environment not cooperating in the construction of development projects aside, the Ministry has provided 16,716 hectares of forest land to various such projects.
It is stated that the Ministry has provided the forest land to 516 various bodies for 12 different purposes. The Ministry has provided the largest area of forest land to 164 bodies for construction of hydropower strictures and power transmission lines. Similarly, it has made available forest land to 92 government bodies, 67 security units, 57 physical infrastructiure projects and 38 social service projects.
This is stated in a report prepared by the Ministry. This includes the figures of the forest land the Ministry has provided to different bodies over the last 33 years.
The Ministry has been providing the government forest land especially for the purpose of ecotourism, forestry development, transmission of power cables, setting up herbs processing industries, construction of government offices and projects, building physical infrastructures, developing wildlife farms, setting up cement and limestone factories, settlement of the freed Kamaiyas and landless squatters, construction of telecommunication structures, building bases of the security bodies, social service and other purposes.
It has provided 4,690 hectares of forest land for forestry development (tree plantation, rubber cultivation), 2819 hectares for the purpose of settlement, 1726 hectares to the security bodies, 1689 hectares for construction of physical infrastructures as roads and irrigation canals and 1328 hectares for construction of power generation and transmission structures.
Likewise, the Ministry has provided 881 hectares forest land for social service (construction of hospitals, schools and colleges), 678 hectares for use by the government offices, 398 hectares for use by cement and limestone factories, 214 hectares for ecotourism, 58 hectares for use by the herbs industries, 11 hectares for wildlife farming and six hectares for the purpose of communications industry (telecom companies).
For the first time, the Cabinet with the coordination of the Ministry on August 12, 1985 had given 30 ropanis of land of National Forest Area located at the then Setidevi VDC-9 of Kathmandu to Himalaya Height Resort Pvt Ltd to establish hotel.
Before this, the national forest area was found utilized by different bodies by presenting proposal directly in the cabinet.
There are different laws including the Forest Act, Forest Regulations, National Park and Wildlife Protection Act, Environment Protection Act, Environment Protection Regulations and Working Procedure, the National Forest Area Act-2074 in this regard.
As per the provision of the Working Procedure, the projects which are under implementation with an objective of earning income should give land equal to the land used by forest area as compensation. The permanent structure should give land as its compensation while the land used for temporary purpose should give money for using the forest areas.
There is also a legal provision that the concerned projects should make agreement with Forest Department after the government gives approval for using national forest area. (RSS)