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No survey conducted before preparing annual plans for afforestation in J&K, plantation drive affected

Last Updated on April 29, 2022 at 1:21 pm

Various loopholes have been pointed out in development works in the forest area of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover mismanagement of funds used for plantations have come to fore.

According to audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India many loopholes have been pointed out. According to guidelines for Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), the Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) should be prepared after conducting detailed survey to collect physical data for identifying the treatment measures like planting in trenches in hilly areas, pit planting with water harvesting measures in flat areas, etc.

But, CAG mentioned that J&K administration failed to conduct survey before preparing APOs. As per CAG report, in nearly 27 divisions no survey was held before preparing APOs.

According to the CAG report, the audit noticed that in all 27 selected divisions, no survey was conducted prior to preparation of APOs. “The APOs were instead prepared on the basis of the financial limits fixed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF). No funds were released during 2015-20 for the survey in respect of 27 selected divisions. The impact of development projects on the forest area and results of compensatory afforestation could not be realistically evaluated in absence of survey,” reads the CAG report.

Also there were delays in finalizing APOs due to which the utilisation of funds of Rs 18.69 crore was delayed. As a result, plantation of 10.694 lakh saplings for rehabilitation of 894.68 hectare of degraded forest, fencing of 3.03 lakh running feet, 1.17 lakh pasture patch development works, raising of 17.4 lakh nursery plants and 1,964 cum of dry rubble stone masonry (DRSM) could not be carried out in respective years of plan.

The report has revealed that Rs 9.24 crore (out of total expenditure of Rs 140.25 core) out of CAMPA funds were spent on inadmissible components such as purchase of office equipment, construction of office complex, etc.