VIJAYAWADA: The afforestation plan of National Afforestation Project Fast Development Agency (NAPFDA), which was introduced in 2009-10 to compensate for the forest land diverted to non-forest purposes, has failed to meet targets. From 2017 to 2018, only 20 hectares out of the targeted 55, was afforested.
In its policy draft, the scheme’s objective is stated to be ‘developing forest resources with people’s participation, with focus on improvement in livelihood of forest-fringe communities, especially the poor.’
“Since the central government had not sanctioned the fund for the implementation of the scheme till September, it couldn’t reach the target. Planting season was over by the time the fund was sanctioned,” said PJ Banerjee, District Forest officer of the Forest Department of Vijayawada.
Other schemes are meeting targets that are getting shorter by the year. CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority bill) has completed plantation of 135 hectares from 2017 to 2018, which was higher than the 58 hectares from 2016 to 2017, but much lower than the whooping 235 hectares from 2015 to 2016.
National Medicinal Plants Board scheme saw its plantation targets plummet from 50 hectares from 2015 to 2016 to 40 hectares from 2016 to 2017 and then to a mere 10 hectares from 2017 to 2018.
Agri-tech website says that it was ‘notified on 24th November 2000 under the Chairpersonship of Union Health & Family Welfare Minister’ to ‘facilitate inter-Ministry, inter-state and institutional collaboration, and to avoid duplication of efforts’, and, ‘co-ordination of all matters relating to medicinal plants, including drawing up policies and strategies for conservation, proper harvesting, cost-effective cultivation, research and development, processing, marketing of raw material in order to protect, sustain and develop this sector.’Banerjee said that the targets have varied seasonally and they might increase or decrease depending on the requirement or the funds provided.
He also claimed that the number of plants that survive and grow into trees is high. “80 percent of the plants survive to turn into trees,” he said.