IIT Indore runs into forest clearance hurdle

IIT Indore, one of the eight new IITs being set up by the government, has run into forest clearance hurdles for its campus near Indore city.

The central government’s Forest Advisory Committe, the apex experts body clearing forest allotments in the country, has rejected the Madhya Pradesh government’s proposal to allot 80 hectares of central reserved forests for establishing the IIT.

The body wondered why the IIT was being located at the site of a forest that has 7,164 trees and urged the state government to look at alternate sites. The IIT is currently functioning out of a temporary campus within Indore.

“[The] proposal of the State Government of Madhya Pradesh to divert forest land located in vicinity of an important city for setting up of a non-site specific project, such as IIT, without undertaking a detailed exercise to examine all feasible alternates, may be rejected,” the Committee said.

“Convincing justification to setup the IIT in forest land, along with the details of alternate non-forest lands examined for the same has not been indicated in the proposal,” it added, pointing out that allocation of forest land would not be in the interest of maintaining ecological balance in and around the city of Indore.

The final decision in the matter would be taken by Jairam Ramesh, India’s minister for environment and forests. He is, however, unlikely to over turn the recommendation of the Committee, as he did in case of POSCO.