This clearance gives a free hand to the army to develop infrastructure. It doesn’t have to seek approvals from the Environment Ministry’s Forest Appraisal Committee (FAC) for using forest land for non-forest purposes.
The Environment Ministry in 2014 had given ‘general approval’ under Section 2 of the Forest Conservation (Act), 1980, for diversion of forest land for construction and widening of two-lane road.
The time duration for forest approvals ranges from a minimum three months to one year. This is even as China has successfully built roads and railway lines till the LAC.
The LAC with China traverses five states — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, totalling to 3,500 km.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had informed Parliament in July that states have set up empowered committees to sort out issues related to land acquisition, forest/wildlife clearance and allotment of queries, among others.
The Home Ministry is also reviewing defence infrastructure development projects on a real-time basis and a steering committee under secretary (Border Management) has been set up to monitor the progress of these projects.