Chief Secretary chairs 19th Steering Committee meeting of CAMPA

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Jammu: Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired the 20th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to review achievements registered under the Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) for the year 2021-22.

On the occasion, the Chief Secretary launched the Department’s information pamphlets showcasing the forestry interventions in Kandi areas for rainwater harvesting under the ongoing Jal Shakti Abhiyan; complete profile of slope stabilization techniques; ‘One Beat Guard- One Village’ programme; and a profile brochure of the UT bird- Pheasant Kalij.

The Chief Secretary also launched the study report on risk zonation and vulnerability assessment of forests to forest fires in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, a short documentary ‘From Forest Diversion to Eco-Restoration’ on the efforts of the Forest Department to foster rehabilitation of degraded forests by stimulating natural regeneration and supplementary afforestation was also released today.

Further, the web portal of J&K CAMPA was launched for facilitating APO preparation and progress monitoring through online mode on a real-time basis. The Chief Secretary asked the Department to further augment its functioning by hosting the GPS coordinates of both completed and under-progress works on the departmental website; strengthening the third-party evaluation of works; and ensuring greater involvement of Village Plantation Committees in conservation efforts.

The Chief Secretary stressed the use of IT tools, drones, and mobile apps for real-time surveillance, besides ensuring people’s participation in forest conservation, protection, and regeneration. The Department was asked to complete the audit of CAMPA accounts by 30th November 2021.

Regarding the physical and financial progress achieved under CAMPA, the PCCF apprised the Committee that till October 2021, Rs. 1238.29 crore stands deposited in the State Fund in addition to Rs. 23.13 crore available in the account maintained by the National Authority. Under the CAMPA scheme, Rs. 775.82 crore has been spent over the last decade on rehabilitating 64,499 Hectares area by planting 436 lakh trees.

The Chief Executive Officer, CAMPA made a detailed presentation giving the status of implementation of the approved Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) of 2021-22 and proposed Budget Estimates for the next financial year 2022-23. He informed that planting in about 25% of the target area has been achieved during the monsoon period and the remaining targets will be achieved during the winter planting season. Tendering for fencing works has been completed and fencing for winter planting is currently underway.

It was informed that under the ‘One Beat Guard- One Village’ programme, 1000 villages will be provided with low-cost greening interventions through the Panchayati Raj Institutions assisted by one Beat Guard. The interventions will include large-scale distribution, plantation, and monitoring of saplings for 3-5 years to ensure maximum survival and growth of plants and grasses within the village and Panchayat. The local produce is expected to facilitate the local communities in sustainably meeting the demand of minor forest produce viz. timber, fuel-wood, fodder, and grasses.

The Chief Secretary directed the department to enhance forest-based livelihood among rural communities in collaboration with the Science & Technology Department for utilization of biomass and weeds like lantana and pine needles in various industries. The Department was further asked to develop a deeper connect with the village communities through “One Beat Guard, One Village Program” and “Village Panchayat Plantation Committees” and formulate plans to meet their requirement for fodder, timber, and non-timber forest produce. He stressed the establishment of linkages of forestry activities with Jal Shakti Department to improve the water regime to help the local communities.

The Chief Secretary further directed the Department to identify all degraded forest areas in Jammu and Kashmir and formulate plans for their rehabilitation in three years, besides ensuring convergence with the Rural Development Department, in this regard.

Reviewing the implementation of special projects, the Chief Secretary directed the Department to focus on the treatment of catchment areas of various water sources; rehabilitation of Wular Lake and Tosamaidan; and stabilization of high gradient slopes.

It was informed that during the current financial year, the Department has so far treated 3663 hectares of area, installed 13.32 lakh rft fencing, planted 10.07 lakh saplings, and produced 1.55 lakh plants in nurseries.

After detailed deliberations, the Steering Committee approved the supplementary Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) for the Year 2021-22 worth Rs.13.26 crore for J&K Forest and allied departments.

Administrative Secretaries of departments of Finance, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Forest Ecology & Environment, Planning, Development & Monitoring, Revenue, and Tribal Affairs, besides, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests J&K, Director Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing, APCCF (CAMPA), Director, Social Forestry, Chief Wildlife Warden, and senior officers of the Forest and allied departments participated in the meeting. Representative of Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Non-official member Ch.Asif Iqbal (Advocate) as an expert and representative of tribal communities were also present—(KNO)

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