Green push: Bill to help states preserve forests

Green push: Bill to help states preserve forests

In an effort to remove financial bottlenecks in preserving forest and wildlife, government will introduce a legislation in Parliament’s monsoon session ensuring hundreds of crores to forest-rich states. 

The money will come from Rs 38,000 crore corpus created under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) at the Supreme Court’s behest.

For the last decade, firms proposing projects in forest areas, both public and private, deposited money to the fund. 

Though the corpus has grown in years, it remained outside of the Consolidated Fund of India against the instructions of the apex court. 

The new legislation would create an authority to distribute the funds to states that had their forest areas used for developmental projects. Tabled in Lok Sabha during the end of the Budget session, Environmental Ministry sources said it is hoping to allow the Bill for consideration and passing in the monsoon session after incorporating suggestions from the department related Parliamentary Standing Committee. 

The Bill was handed to the Committee on May 21 with a three-month time schedule to give its views. 

Sources said almost the entire money would be distributed to the states with the stipulation that it should be used for projects related to planting and protecting forests and wildlife. 

The new legislation has provisions to create national and state authorities to monitor such projects. The Environment Ministry has plans to create new opportunities for corporate and public sector participation in wildlife conservation in which industrial houses will be asked to contribute to protect endangered species like Great Indian Bustard and one horned rhinoceros.

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