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Local administration to clear forest projects [India]

India’s environment ministry has said that all proposals to use forest land for industrial and other projects have to be cleared by the local administrative body concerned...The move will likely affect mining companies...This new requirement strengthens the Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006...The FRA not only provides tribals and forest dwellers traditional rights to land and resources but also recognizes community rights over village commons...For instance, in the controversial and high-profile case of Vedanta Alumina Ltd’s bauxite mine in the Niyamgiri hill in Orissa, tribals had claimed the hill as a community resource... “But at that time, it didn’t matter as the Act (FRA) wasn’t yet enacted,” said Ritwick Dutta, an environmental lawyer. [also refers to Coal India]

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