Forest survey for Jindal steel plot

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 18.04.07

Calcutta, April 18: The land and land reforms department will conduct a joint survey with the forest department to verify its claim that the plot earmarked for the Jindal steel plant in Salboni includes 1,900 acres of forest.

The decision was taken today at a meeting chaired by land minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, where forest officials said that of the 1,900 acres, around 500 acres form a notified forest, while the remaining had been allotted by the government for social forestry (creating a forest).

Additional chief secretary, forest, Kalyani Chowdhury, commissioner-general of land reforms A.K. Patnaik, commerce and industries secretary Sabyasachi Sen and West Midnapore officials were among those who attended the meeting.

The government had earlier thought of redrawing the map of the proposed plant to spare 200 acres covered by shrubs. But if today’s claim by the forest department proves correct, the government might find it difficult to locate contiguous plots after leaving such a large chunk out.

The state will find it difficult to obtain the Centre’s nod to acquire the green patch as it has already got an ultimatum for not compensating the loss of 577 acres of forest during construction of the Bakreswar power plant.

The Union environment ministry has threatened to revoke the approval it had granted to the acquisition of the forest as the state has neither allotted land in lieu of it nor granted money to plant trees. All this was promised in 2001.