J&K dilly-dallying on implementation of compensatory afforestation annual plan

CEO CAMPA conveys serious concern to Chief Conservators
Merely 1.98% expenditure in Jammu, 2.40% in Kashmir valley

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 30: Though huge chunk of forest land is being diverted for non-forest purposes without any interruption yet the concerned authorities of the Forest Department are dilly-dallying on implementation of compensatory afforestation annual plan despite availability of sufficient funds and this has been viewed very seriously by the Chief Executive Officer of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in order to pave the way for execution of various developmental projects in different parts of the State forest land is required to be diverted for the non-forest purposes and in each and every meeting of Forest Advisory Committee several proposals in this regard are cleared and then placed before the State Administrative Council for final approval.
To compensate the diversion of huge chunk of forest land, compensatory afforestation activities are carried out under the close supervision of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority and in this regard a plan is prepared every year and then approved by the Steering Committee headed by the Chief Secretary and comprising of Administrative Secretaries of several departments.
After the imposition of Governor’s Rule in the State the necessity of preparing Annual Plan of Operations for compensatory afforestation much before the start of financial year was felt and accordingly necessary exercise was set into motion.
The Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) for the current year (2019-20) under CAMPA was approved by the Steering Committee in the meeting held on January 14, 2019, sources said, adding the main objective of early approval of the Annual Plan of Operations for the year 2019-20, three months before the commencement of the financial year, was to give enough time to the implementing agencies to complete all requisite codal and procedural formalities so that the approved work programme could be implemented in all earnestness from the very beginning of the financial year.
However, slackness on the part of the implementing agencies has created hurdles in achieving the objectives behind early approval of the Annual Plan of Operations and this can be gauged from the fact that less than 2.50% expenditure has been booked ending June 2019.
This has been viewed very seriously by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the State CAMPA Sarvesh Rai, who has dashed a communication to the Chief Conservator of Forests Kashmir/Jammu conveying displeasure over dilly-dallying approach.
“Progress of expenditure ending June 2019 is 1.98% of the approved outlay in Jammu region and 2.40% in Kashmir region and it appears that the period after the approval of the Annual Plan of Operations has not been utilized for its implementation particularly activities which are not dependent on favourable soil moisture/weather conditions such as purchase of material, fencing and soil conservation works and due to this the advantage of the early approval is lost”, read the Communication No. PCCF/ CAMPA/ 2019-20/ 949/ 3137-38/ 3139-40 dated July 30, 2019 of CEO CAMPA to Chief Conservator of Forests Kashmir/ Jammu, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
He has asked both the Chief Conservators of Forests to make concerted efforts to ensure that the time lost is made up quickly and the approved Annual Plan of Operations is implemented well in time and expenditure is also booked simultaneously.
“The dilly-dallying approach in carrying out compensatory afforestation works is notwithstanding the fact that for the execution of Annual Plan of Operations 25% of the approved outlay was released to most of the implementing agencies well in time”, sources said, adding “in case of implementing agencies of Jammu region (territorial) 50% of the approved outlay has already been released”.
They further said, “the CEO CAMPA has already made it clear that release of funds in 2nd quarter of the current financial year will be based on the status of expenditure of funds already released and clear assessment of requirement of funds so as to avoid unnecessary parking of funds with the implementing agencies”.
It is pertinent to mention here that the CAMPA is aimed at promoting conservation, protection, regeneration and management of existing natural forests; conservation, protection and management of wildlife and its habitat within and outside the protected areas including the consolidation of the protected areas; compensatory afforestation and various types of environment services.