In Haryana, norms given the ‘go-by’ in afforestation : The Tribune India

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In Haryana, norms given the ‘go-by’ in afforestation

In Haryana, norms given the ‘go-by’ in afforestation

Picture for representational purpose only.



Tribune News Service

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Chandigarh, April 2

Before leaving office upon his retirement, the then CEO of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), Haryana, G Raman, wrote to his counterpart in the National Authority, CAMPA, to investigate compensatory afforestation in the state on “unapproved” sites and whether divisional forest officers (DFOs) had complied with the CAMPA Act.

DFOs under lens

  • G Raman, who retired as CEO, CAMPA, on March 31, said DFOs had certified that all expenditures were in compliance with the CAMPA Act
  • However, the reality was that works under compensatory afforestation were carried out on unapproved sites

G Raman retired on March 31. In a letter, dated March 28, he told the national authority that DFOs, who are the executing authorities for CAMPA funds, had certified that all expenditures in the past five years, including 2023-24, were in compliance with the CAMPA Act, 2016, but in actual, works under compensatory afforestation were carried out on unapproved sites.

“This issue was also raised by third party monitoring team IORA, Ecological Solutions Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, while giving a presentation to the undersigned. Thus, it establishes that the works executed in the field are not in consonance with the CAMPA Act, 2016,” he told the National Authority, CAMPA, which comes under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Raman stated that the then Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Haryana, had written to the National Authority of CAMPA on November 2, 2023, stating that all unapproved sites where plantation had previously been carried out totalled 3,965.78 hectares. “This practice of changing sites has been carried out in the past as well. As a result, most of the sites approved by the Centre already find plantation on them, misallocated under other schemes. In a few other cases, the proposed sites have been diverted later for other non-forestry purposes. This misallocation of sites appears to be a recurring, cyclical problem in the department,” he said.

However, former PCCF Jagdish Chander had written to the National Authority, CAMPA, stating that cases were being sent to the Integrated Regional Office (IRO), Chandigarh, for ex post facto sanction of change of sites that took place in previous years. On this assurance, the National Authority, CAMPA, released funds of Rs 20.6 crore for maintenance on December 14, 2023.

On the issue of ex post factor approval for the change of sites, the IRO, Chandigarh, had sought an undertaking from the CEO, CAMPA, listing all plantation sites proposed for ex post facto approval by certifying that money was released for the creation/maintenance of the plantation as per approval from the regional office, Chandigarh. Further, they sought an undertaking from the state government to act against the defaulting DFOs concerned who had proposed the compensatory afforestation sites which had already been afforested under another scheme.

No ex post sanction has been given yet. Raman’s letter further stated, “...it is suggested that activities undertaken under CAMPA from 2021-22 to 2023-24 be monitored and evaluated thoroughly by appointing a special team to find out the total compensatory afforestation plantations carried out on unapproved sites and other activities undertaken outside of the working plan jurisdiction at your end.”

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