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For over a decade, user agencies that have been permitted non-forest activities on forestland, including mines, highways, dams, and energy projects, have been depositing compensatory levies into a special fund known as the Compensatory Afforestation Management Planning Authority (CAMPA). Today, this fund has grown to over 35,000 crores. The government now plans to devolve 90% of this amount to state governments to carry out afforestation activities. However, past experience has proven that not only are ‘afforestation’ projects in India highly corruption-ridden and ineffective, they also end up creating nothing but monoculture plantations of non-native species with zero biodiversity value.   

Currently, the Compensatory Afforestation Bill 2015 is before a Rajya Sabha Standing Committee, which has solicited public comments. Through this petition, we would like to tell the committee that destroyed forests and other complex natural habitats cannot be ‘compensated’ by simply planting trees elsewhere. We would also like to suggest to this committee how the CAMPA fund can be used to genuinely benefit India through investments for assisting natural regeneration; defragmenting large blocks of forest through strategic land acquisitions; creation of wildlife corridors; and other measures based on good science.  It would be a great tragedy if this 35,000 crore rupees accumulated as a result of the destruction of priceless natural habitats is squandered away on meaningless tree planting schemes. 

We would like as many signatures as possible on this petition, so please sign it now and encourage others to do so as well.  Your participation is crucial, so please act now! 

Click here to view the campaign on Conservation India and sign the petition.