Bullet Train project: Ahmedabad Mumbai High Speed (bullet train) corridor
The regional empowered committee (REC) attached to the union ministry of environment and forest at its meeting held on August 30 has deferred its approval for the diversion of 22.6944 hectares of reserved forest and protected forest land in favour of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd for re-orientation/ realignment of existing 400KV and 220 KV transmission lines to facilitate the right of way (ROW) for the construction of Ahmedabad Mumbai High Speed (bullet train) corridor of NHSRCL (National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd) in Palghar District in Maharashtra. The total forest area proposed for diversion is 22.6944 ha and the proposal by the state government also involves 14.6222 hectares of non-forest land thereby total area required for the project is 37.3166 hectares.
The REC has asked the state government to submit details of the existing forest diversion proposal mentioning the title, extent of area diverted and the approval dates. Besides, REC has asked the state government to submit the area already approved and also is part of the realignment, the fresh area which hasn’t approved earlier and proposed as fresh forest land for diversion and the area which was earlier diverted however is not part of the realignment. After receipt of these details, the REC will take up the proposal for its consideration.
The REC observed that the compliance of Scheduled Tribe and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 has not been submitted completely. It also opined that as per the new Forest Conservation Rules, 2022 the State Government shall ensure complete compliance with Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
The REC noted that the density of the area proposed for diversion has been reported as below 0.4 and Eco-class value-I with 1436 project-affected trees out of which 1113 trees are below 60 Cm girth. Incidentally, the proposed area is not included in the area of the National Park/ Wildlife Sanctuary or Nature Reserve further a certificate to this effect has been submitted by the deputy conservator of forests (DCF).
Compensatory Afforestation will be carried out over 45.5 ha. Degraded forest land in Gundle village and Ambiste village is in Palghar district and Suitability certificate has been submitted by the DCF concerned. The REC further opined that for protection and better management of the plantation, the fencing shall be done from the compartment boundary.