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Odisha govt presses pause on order doing away with ‘deemed forest’ tag

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Three days after it issued an order stating that the concept of “deemed forest” has been removed in accordance with the amended Forest Conservation Act, 2023, the Odisha government has put the decision on hold till issuance of final guidelines by the forest ministry.

On August 11, Odisha’s forest and environment department asked district collectors to submit forest diversion proposals, especially for government developmental projects, as per the provision of the amended act.

After the Parliament passed the bill to amend the Forest Conservation Act, 2023, it was published in the Gazette of India on August 4. Based on the gazette notification, the additional chief secretary of the Odisha forest department wrote a letter to all collectors stating that the amended act clearly specifies and defines forest, and the concept of “deemed forest” is now removed.

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