In what could come as an embarrassment to the Congress that has been accusing the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of “diluting” the Forest Rights Act (FRA), the Himachal Pradesh government has opposed an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which asked it to place a hydroelectric project proposal before the affected gram sabhas for approval under the tribal rights law. The Himachal government said the NGT order cannot be followed as the gram sabhas members are unskilled.

“The gram sabha is the deciding authority to comply with the directions of the NGT but it consists of unskilled persons/local residents. Hence, it is not possible for the state to comply with the directions of NGT,” the state-run Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation (HPPC) said in a petition filed in the Supreme Court against the NGT order, which will come up for hearing on Monday. Read more