Jindals' forest bar cleared

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 23.04.07

Calcutta, April 23: The government today said only 158 acres of the 4,600 earmarked for the Jindal steel plant is a forest.

The forest department, which carried out a survey with the land department at Salboni, West Midnapore, over the weekend, had earlier said 500 acres of forest and 1,400 acres earmarked for social forestry figured on the Jindal site map.

The survey should spell relief for the chief minister, who had been monitoring the Salboni acquisition.

“We will allot the 158-acre forest to the Jindal group. They might retain it as a forest or create another one of the same size elsewhere,” land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah said.

“In any case, we will need Delhi’s clearance,” he added.

Officials said of the 158 acres, 88.57 acres are covered by sal trees. The remaining land is a notified forest, but has no vegetation.

Mollah made light of the social forestry plan. “In 1980, the government decided to give away tilling rights for land marked for afforestation but lying waste. If we can allot pattas, we can give it to industry.”