With a cover of 23% of the geographical area of the country, forests in India comprise a number of diverse forest types and reserved areas designated as National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. In India, forests meet the livelihood needs of people living in and adjacent to the forests in about 1,733 villages. Forests also act as carbon sinks and regulators of water regimes. Many development and industrial projects, such as the erection of dams, mining, and the construction of industries or roads, require the diversion of forest land. Any project proponent, whether government or private, must apply for forest clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) before the conversion of land takes place. This proposal is to be submitted through the concerned forest department of the state government. If clearance is given, then compensation for the lost forest land is also to be decided by the ministry and the regulators. Due to certain discrepancies in the implementation of compensatory afforestation, some NGOs approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court for relief. The Hon’ble Supreme Court on July 10 issued orders that there will be a Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) as a National Advisory Council under the chairmanship of the Union Minister of Environment and Forests for monitoring, technical assistance, and evaluation of compensatory afforestation activities.
The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) is meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest uses.
The National CAMPA Advisory Council has been established as per orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court with the following mandate:
1. Lay down broad guidelines for state CAMPA.
2. Facilitate scientific, technological, and other assistance that may be required by the state CAMPA.
3. Make recommendations to the state CAMPA based on a review of their plans and programs.
4. Provide a mechanism to state CAMPA to resolve issues of an interstate or intrastate nature.