The Congress government in Rajasthan has taken up compensatory afforestation in a big way in the areas which are used for non-forestry purposes. This has facilitated plantation of indigenous species as well as the utilisation of land for infrastructure development.
New guidelines have been evolved for utilisation of funds of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA). Though Rajasthan is India’s largest State with about 10.4% of the country’s total area, the State has only 4.86% of its area under the forest cover.
With the emphasis on the protection of forest land and ecosystem, the State’s forest policy has set the target of bringing a minimum of 6% of its area under the forest cover. An “asset register” of plantation sites for 2011-12 to 2021-22 has been prepared in the State to keep track of afforestation activities.
On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary Usha Sharma said at a meeting of steering committee of the Rajasthan State CAMPA the funds would be utilised in a timely and appropriate manner to protect the forest land and ecosystem. While releasing the asset register, Ms. Sharma asked the officials to establish inter-departmental coordination for the afforestation activities.
Principal Forest Secretary Shikhar Agrawal said all activities related to CAMPA would be completed in a time-bound manner and action plans for the work would be shortly formulated. Mr. Agrawal said a notification had been issued for recording 31,619 hectares of forest land in Udaipur; 16,896 hectares in Chittorgarh; and 3,056 hectares in Alwar district of Rajasthan, in the revenue records.
The results of third-party evaluation of works during 2017-18 to 2019-20 conducted by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) were presented at the meeting. Discussions were also held on the strategies to increase the forest area, strengthen biodiversity conservation, increase afforestation, and ensure proper management of grasslands.