Cry For Forest Funds

With fund flow from the Union Government for forestry sector slowing down, several Centrally sponsored programs face uncertainty, feel officials, adding stipulated targets will be difficult to achieve.

Release of fund from Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), National Afforestation Program (NAP), National Mission for Green India (GIM) and several other Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) have slowed down resulting in difficulties in implementation of greening program.

State Government has flagged these issues with the Union government pressing for releasing the amount soon.

Sources in Odisha’s Department of Forest and Environment (DoF&E) said as per annual plan of operation 2016-17, implementation of CAMPA was taken up in 2017-18. With financial outlay of Rs.520 crore, the proposal was sent to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in last May, 2017. Even as hardly a month is left in the current fiscal, the MoEF&CC has released only Rs.241 cr so far leaving the rest Rs.279 in the darkness of uncertainty. 

While massive plantation program was chalked out under National Afforestation Program (NAP) in the State Annual Plan, its implementation impacted due to inconsistent fund release, said sources in know of the development.

Notably, program under NAP for 2017-18 was approved by MoEFCC with a budget estimate of Rs.7 crore for carrying out creation of 1980 hectare of forest and maintenance of an area of 13,240 hectare.

Due to enhancement of wage, NAP was revised to Rs.8.2 crore and accordingly, MoEF&CC was urged to sanction the amount and release the Central share.

With hardly one month left for the end of the current fiscal, MoEF&CC has released only Rs.3.5 Crore under NAP, said a senior official in DoFE.

An ambitious program was taken up under National Mission for Green India (GIM) by MoEFCC. Under this program a perspective plan for five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20 with a cost of Rs.10.79 crore was submitted..
As per the program in 2015-16 at least 2177 hectare greening was taken up with promoting alternative fuel energy to 2500 households in five identified landscapes utilizing Rs.3 crore. However, till date second installment has not been released, officials admit. Moreover, till date the Five Years’ Perspective Plan has not been approved by the Union government.

State Government has approached once again to the MoEF&CC and urged to release the funds in time so that implementation of forestry programs will be completed in time.

During the recent visit of the Director General Forests Siddhant Das to the State, several pending issues were taken up with him. Das who is an Odisha cadre IFS officer is understood to have given assurance to look into the matter on priority basis, an official said.


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