AIZAWL: The Mizoram assembly adopted an official resolution denouncing the recent Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act of 2023, enacted by the Parliament, on Tuesday. The resolution, drafted to safeguard the rights and interests of the people of Mizoram, found unanimous support among the assembly members.
The motion, proposed by Mizoram’s Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister TJ Lalnuntluanga, was met with resounding approval. Minister Lalnuntluanga highlighted that the Mizoram state government had vehemently opposed the bill right from its inception, communicating its objections to the central government as early as October 21, 2021. The state’s forest department also submitted its concerns to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on June 6, preceding the bill’s progression.
However, despite receiving an influx of 1,309 protest letters and communications, the JPC remained undeterred and carried forward the legislation. The bill subsequently gained approval in both Houses of Parliament—the Lok Sabha on July 26 and the Rajya Sabha on August 2. Minister Lalnuntluanga expressed the state’s frustration at the lack of response to their earnest efforts to preserve their forests and protect the rights of their populace.
Highlighting the precariousness of Mizoram’s situation, Minister Lalnuntluanga underscored the potential devastation the state’s forest cover could face if Section 2, sub-section (i) of the amendment Act were implemented within its borders. This statement served to rally the assembly members in a lengthy debate, drawing perspectives from members of both the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and the opposition.
In a remarkable display of unity, all assembly members, excluding the lone BJP representative BD Chakma, voted in favour of the resolution. The collective voice of Mizoram’s representatives spoke of their unwavering commitment to preserving their natural heritage and safeguarding the well-being of their residents.
The adoption of this resolution signifies Mizoram’s determined stand against a legislative move that they deem detrimental to their ecological balance and the socio-cultural fabric of their state.