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Principal Secretary, Finance, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring, Commissioner/Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Director, Soil & Water Conservation, Director, SFRI, Director, Social Forestry Department, Chief Conservator Forests, Jammu, Chief Conservator Forests (Eco Tourism), Chief Conservator of Forests (Planning & Project), CCF(FCA) and representative of MoEF&CC, Regional Office Chandigarh participated in the meeting. NGO members Nazir-B-Nazir and Dr.Gurmit Singh also attended the meeting as special invitees.
Sarvesh Rai, APCCF(CAMPA) made a detailed presentation on the functioning of CAMPA and APOs of the financial year 2019-20.
The Committee was informed that against 13,000 hectares diverted under Jammu and Kashmir Forest Conservation Act for development works since inception, more than 41,000 hectares degraded forest area has been afforested. Against each tree felled under the Act for development works, more than 20 plants have been planted to compensate for the loss of environmental goods and services.
The Committee was informed that new Rules which have been notified on December 24th 2018 provide that more than 80% of the total outlay is to be spent on Forest and Wildlife Management Activities and less than 20% of the outlay on Infrastructure and Capacity building Activities.
The Committee was also informed that a Monitoring Group headed by CCF (Project and Planning) has been entrusted with the task of evolving independent system for concurrent monitoring and evaluations of CAMPA works.
Chief Secretary desired that utility of expenditure on fencing works should be reviewed by the Department for more effective utilization of funds.
It was informed that the coordinates and maps of the works executed under CAMPA are being placed on the website of e-green watch portal of Ministry of Environment and Forest.
After due deliberations, the Steering Committee approved the APOs for the year 2019-20 for Forest and allied Departments in terms of which afforestation will be undertaken in 6000 Hectare area and around 43 Lakh saplings will be planted in 2019-20. The Committee also approved the APOs of Wildlife Protection Department.
While underscoring 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 restoring the ecological balance in the State. He also directed the Forest Department to put the details of works undertaken under CAMPA in public domain. The Department was also directed to work out a comprehensive proposal for conservation of wetlands in the State, particularly Gharana, Mansar and Hokersar, in consultation with the line Departments viz; Agriculture and Revenue and thereafter submit the same for consideration of the Government within two months.
Commissioner/Secretary, Forest advocated earmarking higher allocations to promote cultivation and marketing of medicinal plants so as to serve as a means of livelihood for the local population.
The Wildlife Department was directed to carry out habitat improvement, human animal conflict management and research studies and other conservation works under CAMPA. The Department was further directed to expedite updating of Forest Demarcation records and installation of boundary pillars in order to prevent encroachment of forest lands.