Shillong, July 19: The cabinet has approved the amendment of the Meghalaya Forest Regulation Act (MFRA), 1973.
After the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said since the MFRA, 1973 has not been amended for 48 years, it was necessary to carry out the amendment.
Conrad said the reason why the Act has to be amended is because of the fact that many things and many issues have changed and that the different powers, fees or penalties charged have to be looked into.
Conrad said the amendment bill proposed to confer the powers on forest officers of the state.
The bill is also aimed to provide punishment in tune with current times to act as effective deterrence against forest offences.
“For effective utilization of powers, to investigate and prosecute by a law enforcing agency, powers to arrest offenders or to be candidly define keeping in mind…the present day offenders since the regulation in the present form conferred powers to arrest under limited circumstances often allowing the offenders to flee the clutches of law,” he said.
“In compliance with the Apex Court’s direction to provide effective security to strictly enforce forest protection, the bill provides for statutory obligation for providing security and assistance by police force,” Conrad added.