Government will take the view of forest officials from across the country before proposing amendments to key environment laws. Their views will also be taken on how people's participation can be ensured in areas of forest development, pollution control, river cleaning and other activities.

The 600-odd officials, drawn from Indian Forest Service(IFoS), will express their views at three 'chintan shivirs' (brain-storming sessions) at Bengaluru, Bhopal and Guwahati to be organized by the environment ministry in next one month.

"We will take their suggestions on what are the changes needed in governing environmental policies and all the five acts," environment minister Prakash Javadekar said while referring to work of the panel that recently reviewed existing green laws and suggested amendments.

He said the draft of the amendments to five environment laws was being prepared. The minister, however, did not say whether the amendments will be brought in the budget session of Parliament.

The laws, which were reviewed by a four-member panel headed by former cabinet secretary T S R Subramanian, are the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Javadekar said the 'chintan shivir' will essentially be an open dialogue with forest officers drawn from various disciplines related to environment.

The first 'shivir' will take place on February 8 and February 9 in Bengaluru where officials from southern states plus Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa will attend it. The next 'shivir' for officers from northern region will be held on February 20 and 21 in Bhopal.

The minister said the date of the third meeting of the officers from eastern and northeastern states, planned in Guwahati, would be announced later.

Source: 7 February, 2015, The Economics Times