New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has expressed concern over the massive downsizing of financial allocation and physical targets of Green India Mission (GIM) and said it will delay the attainment of 33 percent forest cover as conceived in the National Forest Policy.
The Committee on Estimates (2014-15) on the National Afforestation Programme under the Environment Ministry said GIM should be implemented as planned and afforestation targets be achieved without fail at the earliest.
“The committee deprecates this massive downsizing in the financial allocation and physical target of the GIM as this wuld only lead to further staggering and delay in attainment of 33 per cent of the forest cover as envisaged by the National Forest Policy, 1988,” the committee said.
It noted that out of Rs 46,000 crore earmarked for GIM in 12th and 13th Five Year Plans, a sum of Rs 13,000 crore only has been approved as outlay by CCEA for the 12th Plan and spillover of one year.
It said that as regards to physical targets, against the proposed increase in forest cover of 5 million hectares and improvement in quality of forest cover on another 5 million hectare during these two Plans, the target for 12th Plan has been pegged at 2.8 million hectare.
“Having regard to the great and multiple benefits of forests and the looming threat of climate change, the committee hardly needs to emphasise the need for intense afforestation by actively engaging the community, schools and colleges and by organising ‘vanmahotsavas’ periodically,” the committee headed by Murli Manohar Joshi, said.
It said that the government needs to identify suitable patches of lands district-wise for afforestation and similarly certain portion of the surplus or unused land for defence, railways, schools, colleges, public institutions should also be used for afforestation.
The committee has also taken serious view of the usage of words “over-ambitious” and “far-fetched” in context of the National Forest Policy 1988 in the reply of the government.
“Such expressions in the context of a policy placed in Parliament and assigned to the executive for its implementation in letter and spirit are totally uncalled for, self contradictory and in direct conflict with the stated policy of the government,” it said.
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