Agartala: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has served a notice to the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change and the Tripura government seeking their responses on resettlement of Bru community in forest area comprising more than 250 Ha of land in North Tripura district.

The NGT’s eastern zone bench comprising Justice B Amit Sthalekar and Judicial Member Saibal Dasgupta on Wednesday heard the petition filed by Dhanishwar Debnath, virtually and served a notice to a total of eight respondents.

The NGT heard Kallol Basu, counsel for the petitioner, and said that grievance of the applicant in the present original application was that under quadripartite agreement dated January 16, 2020 signed between the Central government, state government of Tripura, state government of Mizoram and the representative of the ‘Bru’ community, residing at refugee camp at Tripura, it was decided to resettle the ‘Bru’ community within the state of Tripura.

“It is stated that the ‘Bru’ community originally belongs to Mizoram and have been displaced from there due to internecine troubles with the local Mizos,” the NGT said.

The NGT also observed that the contention of the applicant is that for resettlement of about 40,000 ‘Bru’ community members who have fled into Tripura, the government has invited e-tenders dated November 4, 2020 for making certain constructions within a forested area.

“…this area wherein the applicant and others resides is under green cover and is a good forest area comprising more than 250 Ha and it is this forest area over which the construction is sought to be made to resettle the ‘Bru’ community in violation of Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. In our opinion, matter requires consideration,” the NGT said.

The NGT further served notice to the principal secretary, forest department, the district magistrate and collector, North Tripura district and principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) of Tripura.

The NGT also allowed the applicant to implead the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) and head of forest force, forest department of Tripura in the array of respondents within 24 hours.

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Gora Chand Roy Choudhury, counsel representing the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, was also served the notice by the NGT.

“We direct that the concerned respondents shall file their counter-affidavits by the next date of listing,” the NGT said.

The counsel for the applicant further submitted that he will be filing a supplementary affidavit bringing on record the reply of the govt of Tripura dated December 24, 2020 issued by Sub Divisional Forest Officer, Kanchanpur, Forest Sub Division, North Tripura. The matter will be heard again on July 14.

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