North East

Meghalaya writes to Centre, seeks to utilise CAMPA funds for purchasing forest land

Shillong, September 1: Meghalaya environment minister Lahkmen Rymbui has written to the Centre, seeking to utilize 10% of the alloted funds for afforestation to purchase or take on lease high-value forest areas.
The state has recently received Rs 163.31 crore under the Centre’s Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
According to a report by Indian State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017, the total forest cover in Meghalaya spans 17,146 sq km which is 76.54% of the states geographical area.
Of that, only 1127 Sq Km is currently owned by the state government.
Talking to reporters here on Friday, Rymbui said, “I have proposed that 10% of the CAMPA funds be allowed for purchasing or taking on lease high-value forest areas – catchment areas, biodiversity rich areas, community forest, wildlife corridors – with objective of extending higher degree of protection to these forest areas,” he said.
According to the minister, the high-value forest land, once purchased or taken on lease, will be declared “reserved or protected forest”.
“The state with meagre resources at its disposal is not in a position to bear the expenses. The Union government has been requested to extend help by allowing utilisation of CAMPA Funds,” he said.
A clause in CAMPA Rules, 2018, prohibits expenditure towards leasing, hiring and purchase of land for afforestation purposes, Rymbui stated.
This restriction is posing a hindrance for undertaking green activities such as assisted natural regeneration and artificial regeneration, he added. (PTI)

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