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AIZAWL — In a resolute stance, the Mizoram assembly convened on Tuesday to formally adopt an official resolution that unequivocally opposes the recent Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act of 2023, which had been passed by the national Parliament. The move underscores the state’s commitment to safeguard the rights and interests of its populace.
The assembly’s unanimous resolution echoes a collective sentiment, stating, “This House unanimously resolves to oppose the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023 in order to protect the rights and interest of the people of Mizoram.”
TJ Lalnuntluanga, Mizoram’s Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, spearheaded the resolution, highlighting that the state government had vehemently opposed the legislation right from its inception. He underlined that as early as October 21, 2021, the state administration had corresponded with the central government, expressing its opposition to the proposed act.
Additionally, the state’s forest department had communicated its reservations regarding the legislation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on June 6.
Despite the state’s proactive engagement, the JPC proceeded to endorse the legislation despite receiving a substantial 1,309 protest letters and communications. The Bill eventually cleared both the Lok Sabha on July 26 and the Rajya Sabha on August 2.
“We have spared no effort in shielding our forests from impending devastation and in upholding the rights of our state’s citizens. Our repeated appeals and concerns about the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, conveyed through numerous correspondences to the Centre, have unfortunately fallen on deaf ears. Therefore, we present this resolution today,” emphasized Lalnuntluanga.
The minister underscored the state’s vulnerability, cautioning that the implementation of Section 2, sub-section (i) of the amendment Act could result in the obliteration of Mizoram’s forest cover.
After thorough deliberations, involving contributions from several Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) spanning both the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and the opposition, the assembly exhibited overwhelming support for the resolution. All members, with the exception of the BJP representative BD Chakma, cast their votes in favor of the resolution.