In Jammu and Kashmir, the audits of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) accounts and works are progressing at a very slow pace due to the lackadaisical attitude of the concerned in the forest department.
CAMPA has been initiated for the management of compensatory afforestation fund where all the amount received from the user-agencies towards compensatory afforestation are deposited and are used for compensating for the loss of tangible as well as intangible benefits from the forest lands diverted for non-forest use.
Several guidelines for the mandatory audits of CAMPA accounts have been issued by The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The details to know about whether the diversion of forest land for non-forest use was permitted as per extant laws, whether the collection, utilization, monitoring, accounting and the arrangement for safeguarding of compensatory afforestation fund was in compliance with applicable legislation, rules and Supreme Court judgments and whether proper financial procedures has been followed in investing funds.
As per reports, the agency had time till March 2021 to complete the work but it got extended till July 31, 2021. Now the report is still awaited and is stated in the official meetings that once the audit report is received, the same will be submitted to the Accountant General for further necessary action. The third party audit of CAMPA works, the CAMPA Secretariat has assigned the independent third party monitoring for the period 2012-13 to 2018-19 to a consultancy firm in respect of Jammu region and for Kashmir region, field work is still going on and no time-frame has been fixed for the completion of the same.
Regarding internal monitoring, norms were fixed for internal verification and inspection of works at the field level in the year 2019 whereby Forester is required to conducted 100% verification and inspection of works; Range Officer at least 80%, Divisional Forest Officer at least 50%, Conservator of Forests at least 20% and Chief Conservator of Forests 10%.
Rule 38 of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Rules, 2018, J&K CAMPA, for this it is required to prepare the annual report giving brief description of all activities and summary of works undertaken in accordance with the approved Annual Plan of Operations from the State Fund. However, the CAMPA Secretariat is still in the process of preparing annual reports for the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 which indicates the slow speed of work.