Friday, March 7, 2008

Afforestation panel may finally get green signal.

Ravish TiwariPosted online: Thursday, March 06, 2008 at 2353 hrs

NEW DELHI, March 5: Six years after a Supreme Court order, the Centre is finally ready to set up a Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for promoting activities related to the UPA’s flagship afforestation scheme —Green India — which envisages re-greening up to 6 million hectared in 10 years.

The Cabinet, which is scheduled to meet on Friday, is likely to consider a proposal by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) seeking creation of the CAMPA which will be in charge of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF).

The matter has been pending since 2002, when the Supreme Court ordered that project developers who divert forest land should pay money towards a special fund which would be utilised by a new centralised agency for forest conservation.
Accordingly, CAMPA will be entrusted with the responsibility of utilising over Rs 5,000 crore, collected from project developers who diverted forest land for other use, for undertaking afforestation programmes.

Following the government’s announcement of loan waivers for farmers, the Cabinet is also likely to consider a proposal to provide funds to public sector banks, co-operative credit structures, regional rural banks, and NABARD to operationalise credit to farmers at 7 per cent interest during the year.

The Cabinet is also likely to consider a proposal to establish a regional rural bank in Puducherry.

Another proposal likely to be discussed is central assistance for long-term reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by natural calamities during 2005 to Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

The Cabinet may also take up a proposal from the Department of Space for an agreement between ISRO and Russia’s Federal Space Agency on cooperation in the field of joint moon exploration.

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