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Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA)

  • Forests are a vital component to sustain the life support system on Earth. Forests whether Government, village or private subserve the entire community and represent a community resource that meets the need of the millions of rural people especially the tribals. Article 48A of the Constitution of India requires that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forest and wildlife of the country. Under Article 51A, it is the duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
  • Several laws and court judgements govern the use and protection of forest land in India. The laws include Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 and Indian Forests Act, 1927.
  • The forests are generally used for the lifestyle, well being of the forest dwellers, villagers and other people/ species wholly or partly dependent on forests.
  • The Supreme Court of India directed in October 2002 that a ‘Compensatory Afforestation Fund’ (CAF) shall be created in which all the monies received from the user-agencies towards compensatory afforestation, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation, net present value of forest land, catchment area treatment plan funds, etc. shall be deposited.
  • CAF was to compensate for the loss of tangible as well as intangible benefits from the forest lands which were diverted for non-forest use.
  • Such funds were to be used for natural assisted regeneration, forest management, protection, infrastructure development, wildlife protection and management, supply of wood and other forest produce saving devices and other allied activities.
  • The Court observed that the fund would not be part of general revenues of the Union, of the States or part of the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) notified the Compensatory Afforestation Funds Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in April 2004 for the management of the compensatory afforestation fund.
  • The forest land is generally diverted for facilitating developmental activities for non forestry purposes like construction of power projects, irrigation projects, roads, railways, schools, hospitals, rural electrification, telecommunication, drinking water facilities and mining etc.
  • As per the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, whenever forest land is to be diverted for nonforestry purpose, equivalent non forest land for compensatory afforestation and funds for raising compensatory afforestation etc are to be imposed. For mining purposes additional conditions like maintaining a safety zone area, fencing and regeneration etc and for major and medium irrigation projects, catchment area treatment plans are to be stipulated.
  • The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 mandates that non-forest land, equal to the size of the forest being diverted be afforested. But, since afforested land cannot become a forest overnight, loss of goods and services like timber, bamboo, fuelwood, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water recharge, and seed dispersal are still experienced. Moreover, the newly afforested land will take around 50 years to start delivering the comparable goods and services which the diverted land gave just before diversion. To compensate the losses suffered in the interim, the Net Present Value (NPV) of the diverted forest are computed for a period of 50 years, and recovered from the “user agency” that is diverting the forests. The NPV for every patch of forest is computed by an expert committee.

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