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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:44 pm 
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Incidents of Land Grabbing in the Guise of Afforestation

CAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY
Contact: Q1
Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110 016. Ph: 9810819301


Afforestation programmes usually take place on forest land classified as “degraded forest”, or on revenue “wasteland” in case of compensatory afforestation. However, the Forest Department classifies all forest land that has less than a certain percentage of tree cover as degraded forest. Hence grasslands,
village fallow lands, grazing areas, and lands that forest dwellers are cultivating (but do not have recorded rights on), but which are recorded as forest land, are all hence classified as degraded forest.

Plantations on such lands have hence become a standard method by which the Forest Department establishes its control over them. Further, in case of “compensatory afforestation” i.e. plantations meant to “compensate” forest destroyed for projects etc. the Forest Department frequently takes over revenue lands and notifies them as protected or reserved forest, even though these lands too may be grazing areas, common lands etc.
After the passage of the Forest Rights Act 2006, the Forest Departments of many States have increased plantations on people's lands in order to block them from claiming rights. Most evictions after 2006 have been linked to plantations. Some examples:

· In June 2009, in the Ilendu area of Khammam District, Andhra Pradesh, 10,000 hectares of forest land were allocated for compensatory afforestation. The land included the community lands of the Konda Reddi adivasi community, who protested against this land allocation (which was made without consulting or even informing them).
· In July 2008, in Benyamaliguda hamlet, Ramagiri panchayat, Baipariguda Block, Koraput District, Orissa, the Forest Department undertook tree plantations on the lands of twelve adivasi families. When the families protested that this was in violation of the Forest Rights Act, the SDO ordered the Forest Department to halt their actions, but harassment continued.

· In July 2009, in Dholmandar Village, Turekela Block, Bolangir District, Orissa, the Forest Department undertook plantations on the lands of approximately 22 people.
· Similar plantations took place on people's lands in June and July 2009 in one other village in Titalagarh Block of Bolangir District and Nandapur Block of Koraput District.
· In several cases in Rajnandgaon, Kanker, and other districts of Chhattisgarh in 2008, forest dwellers were evicted from their lands in order to use the lands for plantations.

· In June, July and September 2008, at least 15 incidents of illegal forced tree plantations on people's lands were reported from the Dangs District, Gujarat.
Environment Ministry Directs Takeover of Community Forests for Afforestation
In connection with “compensatory afforestation” as required under the Forest (Conservation) Rules, which require that any diversion of forest land for nonforest
use shall be “compensated” by planting of trees on twice the area (in case of planting in degraded forests), the Environment Ministry issued a directive1 on 20.10.2003 to all State governments.

Para 8 of the directive stated that “zudpi jungle/chhote/bade jhar ka jungle/junglejhari
land/civil-soyam lands … shall be considered for the purpose of compensatory afforestation provided that such lands …
shall [then] be notified as reserved forests under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.”

1 Letter F.No.2l/ 2003FC dtd. 20.10.2003 from FC Division, MoEF, to all State governments.

All the four types of forest land named, i.e. chhote/bade jhar ka jungle, civil soyam lands and zudpi jungles, are community lands on which people in fact have recorded rights, but which were recorded as forests and brought under the Forest (Conservation) Act by a 1996 Supreme Court order. These are forests that people heavily depend on for minor forest produce, herbs, grazing areas etc. Under the 2006 Forest Rights Act, communities have rights to all these items as well as the right and power to manage such “community forest resources” (s. 3(1)(i)). The Forest Department, however, is now using compensatory afforestation to get these lands under its sole control. This directive is clear evidence of that, for it states that precisely such community lands should be used for compensatory afforestation and subsequently converted to reserved forests. This directive is in force till date.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:46 pm 
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Problems with compensatory afforestation

CAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY

Contact:
Q1
Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110016. Ph: 9810819301, forestcampaign@gmail.com
Problems with New CAMPA Authority


for Spending Compensatory Afforestation and Net
Present Value Funds
When permission is granted to use forest lands for nonforest
use, funds are collected for the purpose of
planting trees to reduce environmental damage (compensatory afforestation) and to replace the “net
present value” of the destroyed forest. As of July 2009, the accumulated money amounted to roughly
11,400 crores, as there is no statutory frame for spending it.
After repeated attempts (see timeline in Annexure I) to take control of this money, the Ministry of
Environment and Forests has recently come to an “agreement” with the Supreme Court's committee to
spend part of this money. Prior to this, the Central government had attempted to seize control of all of
this money, through a Bill that was rejected by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on grounds of
violating forest dwellers' rights, federalism and environmental requirements. The new “agreement”
with the Court's committee fails to address any of the major concerns of the Standing Committee.
As there was no opposing party, the Supreme Court approved this “agreement” on July 10th.
New Arrangement for CAMPA
· Rs. 1,000 crores will be annually released from the existing 'ad hoc CAMPA' to “State level
CAMPA authorities” from the Central fund (roughly the interest on the principal amount).
· Future funds will continue to accumulate with the Centre (though Ministry guidelines say the
opposite, the Supreme Court order is clear on the matter).
· The State level authorities will have steering and executive committees composed of forest
officials, plus two NGOs. There is a broader “governing body” including Ministers, but that
will however only “formulate policy.”
· Funds can be spent on afforestation, “regeneration of natural forests”, and salaries etc. (from the
interest) as well as vague heads such as providing “nonmaterial”
benefits from forests.
· A new “National CAMPA Advisory Council” will have the power to stop fund flow to the State
level Authorities upon audits. 5% of the annual funds released to the States (i.e. Rs. 50 crores)
will be given to the Central ad hoc CAMPA to spend as it sees fit.
Problems with this Arrangement
(See attached note for comparison of key Standing Committee recommendations with this arrangement)
Bypassing Parliament: When a Standing Committee has given a detailed set of recommendations on
the matter, it is not open to the Central government to ignore both those recommendations and
Parliament and instead seek to create a new institutional order by an “agreement” with a courtappointed
committee. The State governments too were neither informed nor consulted.
Violation of Forest Dwellers' Rights: The Standing Committee had pointed out that the current system
neither informs nor consults forest dwellers prior to either destroying their forests (when diverting the
land) nor when engaging in plantations in “degraded forests.” Most plantations are done on people's
lands, to which they have unrecorded rights, or in common lands; after which these lands are illegally
converted into reserved forests without following due process of law. Plantations deprive large
numbers of people of their lands every year, even after they were barred from doing so by the
Forest Rights Act. The Standing Committee gave a number of detailed recommendations on
institutional arrangements to ensure that rights are respected; every one of them has been
ignored.
Violation of Federalism and Local Bodies' Rights: The Supreme Court's original expert committee
had recommended that the money should be split between local bodies, State governments and the
Centre (with local bodies and the States receiving the majority). The Standing Committee had
recommended the creation of State level authorities which would spend the money in accordance with
plans from panchayats, approved by gram sabhas. The current arrangement simply provides that the
bulk of the money – Rs. 11,400 crores – will remain with the Centre and less than 10% on it will be
released to the State level Authorities, which in turn will be controlled by their Forest Departments. No
reference is made to local bodies at all. While the Minister has since then said that “within six
months to a year” the money will be released to the States, the Supreme Court's own order
clearly says that this will only be done “after seeing the progress made by the State Level CAMPA
and the effectiveness of the accounting, monitoring and evaluation systems.” (para D of interim
order)
Environmental Damage Through Plantations: The use of this money for tree plantations alone has
been criticised, as it deprives people of their common lands and damages biodiversity, water table levels
and soil integrity. The Ministry has attempted to respond to this with a vague set of statements that the
State level CAMPAs should “mainly” spend their money on regeneration of natural forest “which
should have priority.” But there is no structure for doing so, nor is this a requirement, merely a vague
guideline. As such most of the money will continue to be spent on afforestation plantations. The
Standing Committee had sharply criticised the wide terms under which the original Bill provided for
spending of the money, but the new guidelines make this even wider.
Perpetuation of Centralised, Undemocratic Forestry Decision Making: The single biggest reason for
forest destruction and environmental damage, as the Standing Committee had mentioned, is the
institutionalisation of a system that regards collection of monetary compensation as environmental
protection. This amounts, as the Standing Committee said, to “selling pristine forests to the highest
bidder.” Instead, the system should be modified so as to be in compliance with the Forest Rights Act's
provisions on community forest protection and management, as well as the provisions of the Panchayats
(Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, regarding the control of tribal communities in Scheduled
Areas over their resources.
Suggestions
· A revised Bill addressing these issues should be moved in Parliament and passed, removing the
control of these funds from “ad hoc” bodies.
· In accordance with the Standing Committee's recommendations, the existing money should only
be spent through plans proposed by panchayats and approved by gram sabhas.
· Also in accordance with the Standing Committee's recommendations, in future, the Forest
(Conservation) Act should be amended to ensure that diversion and collection of funds is
decided upon through a process based on the control of communities over their community
forest resources and homelands, as per the Forest Rights Act and the Panchayats (Extension to
Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.
Timeline of Events
21.11.2001 – Supreme Court observes that large amounts of compensatory afforestation funds have not
been spent by State governments.
2002 – Supreme Court orders depositing of money in a Compensatory Afforestation Fund at the Centre.
24.04.04 – Ministry constitutes Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority
(CAMPA)
05.05.06 – Supreme Court allows “ad hoc CAMPA” authority to collect funds pending creation of a
statutory authority
May 2008 – Centre tables Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2008, seeking to create a statutory
compensatory afforestation fund and an authority for the same
October 2008 – Standing Committee on Environment and Forests rejects Bill for multiple reasons,
including violations of federal principles, lack of procedures for respecting rights of forest dwellers, and
improper institutional arrangements.
December 2008 – Centre retables
identical Bill, manages to get it passed in Lok Sabha, fails to do so in
Rajya Sabha.
March 2009 – Prime Minister's Office holds a meeting at which it is decided that States will receive
funds through State level CAMPA authorities.
29.05.2009 – MoS (I/C) MoEF takes over charge, claims to review this issue and to enhance protection
for “existing natural forests.”
17.06.2009, 27.06.2009 – Minister meets with Attorney General, and President and Secretary of the
Central Empowered Committee to come to an “agreement.”
02.07.2009 – Ministry decides to activate ad hoc CAMPA authority in accordance with agreement.
03.07.2009 – Ad hoc CAMPA recommends that Rs. 1,000 crores be approved for release for the next
five years. Guidelines of Ministry are approved.
07.07.2009 – Ministry moves IA in the Supreme Court praying for disbursement of funds in this
fashion.
10.07.2009 – Supreme Court approves, directs that the system shall be evaluated every six months by
the CEC and audited. Future funds will accumulate with the Central ad hoc CAMPA as per interim
order.
15.07.2009 – Minister holds press conference, announces this as a step forward, declares that money
will be given to States later.
http://www.forestrightsact.com/forest-c ... ownload/16


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 Post subject: Saxena Vedanta report
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:48 pm 
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Posts: 596
Saxena Vedanta report

http://www.bharat-swabhiman.com/forum/v ... port#p4597


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