Against the diversion of 4080 hectares of forestland for non-forestry purposes during the period 2006-2012, compensatory afforestation was expected to be carried out at the rate of two hectares per hectare diverted. This means that such afforestation work should have covered 8160 hectares, but audit scrutiny found that during the same period, the State Forest Department or the State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) carried out such work on only 2789 hectares of land.

This means that the shortfall was as high as 66 per cent, which suggests that despite a lot of rhetoric on conservation, Himachal is losing its forestland at higher rates than those of its lame-duck efforts to compensate such loss.

CAG auditors carried out test-check audits in 14 forest divisions for compensatory afforestation work pertaining to diversion of 1424.5 hectares of forest land during 2003 to 2012. Compensatory afforestation in these cases was required to be carried out on 2849 hectares of degraded forest land, and audit scrutiny revealed that as of March 2013 compensatory afforestation was carried out on a mere 79.25 hectares, that is, only on an abysmal 3 percent. Read more

Courtesy: india together

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