Principal Accountant General seeks clarifications from Forest Deptt over contravention of rules
By: Ibni Maqbool
Srinagar: The selection of degraded forests for compensatory afforestation under the CAMPA scheme in Jammu & Kashmir has come under scanner, official documents reveal.
In a letter, a copy of which is with The Precious Kashmir, the office of the Principal Accountant General(Audit), J&K, has pointed out certain violations of rules by the Forest department while selecting land for compensatory afforestation.
The office of PAG has written to the Forest department that no record was available in the divisions to ascertain that the forest areas treated have crown density below 40 percent.
“As per instruction issued by forest department and Handbook of Forest Conservation Act-1980 and Forest Conservation rules -2003(guidelines and clarification), all forest land which have crown density below 40 percent should only be treated as degraded forest for the purpose of afforestation. A scheme of 1000 plants per hectare is to be prepared for these degraded forests. The divisions are entrusted with the development of degraded forests. No record was available in the divisions to ascertain that the forest areas treated have crown density below 40 percent,” read the letter written by senior audit to APPCF(CAMPA).
The auditor has also pointed out that during test check, 18 compartments chosen for afforestation were found to have crown density more than 40 percent.
“During test check of annual plan of operation and KMZ files uploaded for compensatory afforestation, it was noticed in KMZ files in 18 cases in four divisions, the compartments selected for afforestation seem to have crown density more than 40 percent. This is in contravention to the instruction issued and may be clarified,” read the communique.
The PAG has also sought comments/ clarifications from the department over selection of land for compensatory afforestation in south Kashmir’s Shopian division.
“In forest division Shopian, degraded forests were approved for afforestation in the annual plan of operation on the basis of old KMZ files ranging upto more than 4 years. Reasons thereof may be assigned,” read the letter.