* Social Forestry to be done through VFCs only
SRINAGAR, June 9: Chief Secretary, B. V. R. Subrahmanyam chaired the 17th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and extensively reviewed the implementation of the Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) of Forest and Wildlife Departments for the Year 2019-20 approved in January, 2019.
Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring, Commissioner/ Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment, PCCF, J&K, Chief Wildlife Warden, J&K, Chairman, SPCB, Director, Soil & Water Conservation, representative of MoEF&CC, Regional Office Chandigarh and other senior officers participated in the meeting. NGO member Nazir-B-Nazir also attended the meeting as special invitee.
Sarvesh Rai, APCCF (CAMPA) made a detailed presentation on the physical and financial achievements registered against the approved Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) under CAMPA for the year 2019-20.
While reviewing the contribution of CAMPA towards conservation and restoration of Forests in the State, the Committee was informed that against the 13,000 ha of forest area diverted under Jammu and Kashmir Forest Conservation Act for development works till date, more than 45000 ha degraded forest area has been treated under CAMPA.
Chief Secretary emphasised on effective utilization of CAMPA funds for compensatory afforestation particularly in degraded forest areas, soil moisture conservation, wildlife management, catchment area treatment and increasing green cover outside forests areas.
Further, to promote transparency, Chief Secretary directed the Forest Department to separately upload the coordinates/Maps of CAMPA works on the website of J&K Forest Department besides uploading the same on the website of e-green watch portal of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
In order to introduce systemic improvements and fiscal discipline, the Forest Department was asked to activate the Village Forest Committees (VFCs) by involving them in various Social Forestry activities undertaken under CAMPA including those related to plantation, engagement of Watch & Ward and expenditure.
Regarding monitoring of CAMPA works, the Committee was informed that while internal monitoring is being undertaken at various levels, the department is in the process of engaging a 3rd party for monitoring purposes. The Committee asked the department to complete the process of uploading of RFP by June, 15, evaluation by July 22 and awarding of the 3rd party monitoring contract by July, 31, 2019.
Further, the Committee decided that CAMPA funds shall be routed through Treasury System for which the Forest Department was asked to propose necessary amendments, as may be required, in the relevant rules, in consultation with the Finance department by June, 22, 2019.
The Committee also approved the proposal of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to the tune of Rs 5.50 crore regarding catchment area treatment plan for River Rejuvenation of River Dwarka, Banganga, Tawi, Basanter, Chenab, Jehlum and Sindh.
Given the importance of conservation and protection of flora, fauna and forest wealth, Chief Secretary urged the officers of the Forest Department to redouble their efforts so that afforestation and compensatory plantation is undertaken in a mission mode for maintaining of the ecological balance in the State.
The Forest Department was asked to further examine the desirability of its proposal regarding setting up of Smriti Vans (Remembeance Parks) in Territorial Division Headquarters by consulting various stakeholders and also formulate a comprehensive scheme for management of the Smriti Vans.