Kathmandu, September 7
Heeding to the demand of stakeholders to lower the threshold of planting new trees for those felled at project sites, the government has amended the forest clearance guideline.
As per the new guideline, a project developer now needs to plant 10 trees for cutting each tree at a project site. Earlier, the developer had to plant 25 trees for felling one tree.
The new guideline has replaced the earlier forest clearance guideline that was introduced in 2017. Recently tabled by the Ministry of Forests and Environment and approved by the Cabinet, the amended guideline will come into effect from tomorrow.
As per the new guideline, the project developer needs to tend to the new trees for five years. Moreover, the project developer needs to identify the plantation area and provide some advance payment for tending to the trees.
If the developer is unable to plant and tend the trees as mentioned in the environmental impact assessment report, the developer should pay the amount necessary to plant and care for the trees to the government.
The government has amended the guideline at a time when forest conservation has been identified as one of the major bottlenecks affecting development of major infrastructure projects, especially in the energy and transport sectors.
The private sector had been urging for the forest clearance guideline to be more lenient arguing that Nepal has already met the Forest Act criteria that 40 per cent of the land should to be covered by forests.
Shailendra Guragain, president of Independent Power Producers’ Association – Nepal, said, “Despite abiding by all the rules, the government continues to breathe down our necks.”
The earlier provisions had led to growing resentment between the developers and the government, leading to delays in providing land for infrastructure projects.
“The government needs to be a facilitator for project developers, not a dictator. However, the new guideline will help to manage the projects in stipulated time,” he added.
Written by Nishant Pokhrel
This news first appeared on https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/government-amends-forest-clearance-guideline/ under the title “Government amends forest clearance guideline”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.