India’s first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), specialising in infrastructure development in Himalayan region is approved by the environment ministry. The environment ministry gave green clearance for setting up of an IIT in Mandi district of the state. This comes two months after the ministry rejected the proposal on the ground that too much forest area was being diverted. After the Himachal government submitted a revised proposal by reducing the forest area required by around 10 %, the ministry had cleared the proposal.

The IIT with 8,000 students and 800 faculty members will be spread in an area of 500 hectares in Kamand region of the district. Of this land, 125 hectares will be forestland. The ministry has also asked the state government to ensure that it plant trees in double of the forest being diverted. It is one of the 21 conditions imposed for allowing construction of the state’s first IIT.

The condition includes that the IIT will have to create a green belt in the region, avoid adverse impact on local flora and fauna and adopting the villages, which will have to be relocated, for providing alternate livelihood avenues. Implementation of Forest Rights Act has also been made mandatory.