If the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023 is implemented in Meghalaya it will doom the state’s forests, Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Manuel Badwar has told Highland Post.
While praising Shillong MP and fellow Congressman Vincent Pala for speaking against the act in Parliament, Badwar said, “If this act is imposed in our state then the regions rich in mineral resources and dense forest will be doomed.”
The amendment will exempt border lands from the obligation to seek permissions to clear forests in order to construct “strategic linear projects of national importance”.
“If 100km from the border will be under the Centre then, in the entire North East, the area that falls outside this exemption will only comprise a few stretches in Tezpur and Mangaldai and everything else, including in Scheduled areas, will be lost,” Badwar warned.
“Pala had raised his voice against this and asked the entire North East to speak against it but none of the other MPs did because they dare not since they are together with the BJP,” he added, while stating that the Chief Minister of Meghalaya has also been silent about it.
With regards to next year’s Lok Sabha elections, Badwar said that the Congress stands a good chance in Meghalaya as the people want to send a message to the Centre that they will not be drawn towards the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“We all know about the divisive politics going on today that is part of an attempt to create a rift among communities. The prime example of the divide and rule strategy is the situation in Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana,” he said.
Stating that the MP from the hill areas of Manipur also did not utter a word on the situation in Parliament because he is indirectly together with the BJP and does not have a say about the plight of his own people, Badwar questioned the relevance of sending one or two MPs from regional parties to represent Meghalaya in Parliament.
“Congress should be given a chance in Delhi because the best case scenario would be a coalition government led by the Congress,” he said while calling on the people to reject divisive politics that has been wielded against minorities in the country.