With a cover of 23% of Geographical area of the country, forest in India comprise of a number of diverse forest types and reserved areas designated as National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. In India, forest meet the livelihood needs of people living in and adjoining the forests in about 1, 73,000 villages. Forests also act as carbon sinks and regulators of water regime.
Many development and industrial projects such as erection of dams, mining, and construction of industries or roads require diversion of forest land. Any project proponent, government or private must apply for forest clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), before the conversion of land take place. This proposal is to be submitted through the concerned forest department of the state government. If clearance is given, then compensation for the lost forest land is also to be decided by the ministry and the regulators.
Due to certain discrepancies in the implementation of compensatory afforestation, some NGOs had approached The Hon’ble Supreme Court for relief. The Hon’ble Supreme Court on 10th July 2009 issued orders that there will be a Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) as National Advisory Council under the chairmanship of the Union Minister of Environment & Forests for monitoring, technical assistance and evaluation of compensatory afforestation activities.
Objectives of CAMPA
Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) are meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest uses.
National CAMPA Advisory Council has been established as per orders of The Hon’ble Supreme Court with the following mandate:
- Lay down broad guidelines for State CAMPA.
- Facilitate scientific, technological and other assistance that may be required by State CAMPA.
- Make recommendations to State CAMPA based on a review of their plans and programmes.
- Provide a mechanism to State CAMPA to resolve issues of an inter-state or Centre-State character.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court also approved the guidelines prepared by the MoEF for utilizing CAMPA funds by an agency to be constituted in the states and to be known as The State CAMPA.
Some of the important points in the guidelines are highlighted here:
- The State CAMPA would presently receive funds collected from user agencies towards compensatory afforestation, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation, Net Present Value (NPV) and all other amounts recovered from such agencies under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and presently lying with the Adhoc CAMPA.
- The State CAMPA would administer the amount received from the Adhoc CAMPA and utilize the funds collected for undertaking compensatory afforestation, assisted natural regeneration, conservation and protection of forests, infrastructure development, wildlife conservation and protection and other related activities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- State CAMPA would provide an integrated framework for utilizing multiple sources of funding and activities relating to protection and management of forests and wildlife. Its prime task would be regenerating natural forests and building up the institution engaged in this work in the State Forest Department including training of the forest officials of various levels with an emphasis on training of the staff at cutting edge level (forest range level). In short, the department would be modernized to protect and regenerate the forests and wildlife habitat.
The guidelines also talk about establishment of an independent system for concurrent monitoring and evaluation of the works implemented in the States utilizing the funds available.
In sum, the prime task of State CAMPA would be regenerating natural forests and building up the institution engaged in this task in the State Forest Department.