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National Assembly concludes the deliberation on the Third Reading of the Forest and Nature Conservation Bill of Bhutan 2021

Posted on :23 June 2022

The deliberation on the Third Reading of the Forest and Nature Conservation Bill of Bhutan 2021 concluded today after six days of intense deliberations. 

Today’s deliberation started with the Chairperson of the Environment and Climate Change Committee resubmitting the committee’s recommendation on Sections 150, 151, 152, 154, and 155 as directed by the House yesterday. The Chairperson submitted the decision of the Committee to retain their original recommendations on Sections 150, 151, and 152 regarding forestry clearance for the establishment of forest-based industry. The Committee had proposed for the establishment of primary and secondary wood-based industry under this Act to not require forestry clearance from the department for obtaining a business license. The House endorsed the Committee’s recommendation along with the recommendations on Sections 154, 155, a new section after Section 155 on the usage of mobile machinery registered with the department in the private forest, residential or inside state reserved forest land and other related sections like Section 204 on the illegal operation of forest-based industry, Section 205 on illegal use of timber in forest-based industry, and Section 209 on non-registration of mobile machinery.

The House was divided in their opinion regarding the grading of felony of third-degree for the offence of the killing of wild fauna listed in Schedule I in Section 212. Some were of the opinion that it was too harsh whereas some spoke in favour of it. However, the House retained the section as “The offence of killing of wild fauna species listed under Schedule I of this Act shall be a felony of third degree…” through a show of hands. Tiger, snow leopard, clouded leopard, Takin, Asian elephant, great one-horned rhino, musk deer, and pygmy hog are the wild fauna species listed under Schedule I.

The House also endorsed a new section after Section 233 under smuggling of wild fauna or flora specimen, grading the reporting of false information on the commission of forestry offence as a petty misdemeanor.

Furthermore, the House also deliberated on the last two chapters of the Bill: Offences and Penalty and Miscellaneous Provisions along with the Committee’s recommendation on illegal fishing, illegal mining, quarrying, and developmental activity, the introduction of invasive, alien, or exotic species, release of exotic fish in the water body, disturbance to wild fauna, the release of saved or rescued domestic animal, killing or injuring of wild fauna listed under Schedule II and III, use of livestock to transport illegal forest produce, laying of trap and snare, removal of timber from private registered land, and misuse of subsidized timber and forest produce allotted for other purposes, smuggling of wild flora or fauna specimen, immunity, intelligence, information and informant, schedule of species, rulemaking power and definitions.

The Bill will be put to vote tomorrow as per the due legislative procedure. 

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