Centre moves SC for utilisation of Campa fund

“Now an Act has been in place. It has come into force. Everything is as per the statutory regime. The ad-hoc regulatory regime and monitoring must come to end,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta. (Reuters File Photo)

The Union government has approached the Supreme Court seeking permission for utilisation of Campa (compensatory afforestation) fund in conformity with a statutory regime put in place after passage of a law.

“Now an Act has been in place. It has come into force. Everything is as per the statutory regime. The ad-hoc regulatory regime and monitoring must come to end,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta.

The law officer submitted with the law having in place, it does not require monitoring by the top court.

Advocate A D N Rao, appearing for the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) contended that a proper mechanism for utilisation of Rs 54,000 crore fund has to be put in place.

The question is what would happen to Rs 15,000 crore interest earned on the fund.

The court put the matter for consideration on Monday.

Following the apex court's orders, various agencies deposited amount for afforestation purpose by way of net present value when the forest area was being utilised for non-forest purpose.

However, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016, was passed with a purpose to end the long era of ad-hoc-ism and help the Centre and state governments to utilise these amounts in a planned manner.

It provided for establishment of a permanent institutional framework at the centre and at each state and Union territory to ensure utilisation of these funds in an expeditious and transparent manner for creation and maintenance of compensatory afforestation and execution of other activities for conservation, protection, improvement and expansion of forest and wildlife resources of the country.

Earlier, the central government in exercise of powers conferred under Section 3 (3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, constituted Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). However, the CAMPA could not be operationalised.

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Centre moves SC for utilisation of Campa fund

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