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Gandhinagar, Tuesday: The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) of Government of India has given permission for diversion of about 1,058 hectares of reserve forest land in 10 villages in Godhra and Shahera talukas in Panchmahals District under the Forests (Conservation) Act, 1980.

In 1978, 450 displaced families from Hadaf, Kasturi and Idalwada irrigation projects in the Panchmahals district were rehabilitated in forest areas of ten villages. But the issue remained unsolved for about 30 years as the land could not be made available to the displaced under the aforesaid Act.

When the embroiled matter was brought to the notice of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the interest of tribal people, he directed the officers of Gujarat's Forest Department as well as Resident Commissioner in New Delhi for taking up the matter with the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) appointed by MoEF and Supreme Court to solve the problem on a priority basis. This was followed up by Chief Conservator of Forest Pradeep Khanna prepared a document which was sent by State Government to MoEF at the Centre.

Several development works in those 1,058 hectares of forest land which were stalled due to the stalemate will now be completed, including that of the State Government.

While the stalemate passed on from one generation to another during the last 30 years for want of technical reasons, is now solved due to the Chief Minister's concern for the tribal people and his political will to remove obstacles coming in the way of the stalemate and due to the follow-up action taken by the officers.

Gujarat Information Bureau

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