Functions of Special Afforestation Wing
A. DIVERSION OF FOREST LAND UNDER FOREST CONSERVATION ACT, 1980
The main function of the Special Afforestation wing is to deal with the applications for diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980.
There are two sections to deal with the processing of the applications for diversion of forest land submitted by the User Agencies through the Divisional Forest Officer/Wildlife Warden and Conservator of Forests / Chief Conservator of Forests.
The proposals received from intending User Agencies for diversion of forest land for non forestry purposes are processed and examined in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Government of India from time to time under F©Act, 1980 and submit to the Ministry of Environment & Forests through State Government for according approval.
FC1 Section deals with the applications pertaining to the Divisions in Northern Circle, Eastern Circle and Southern Circle and FC2 Section deals with the application pertaining to the Divisions in High Range Circle and Central Circle. The files processed by the section are submitted to the Chief Conservator of Forests (Special Afforestation) & Nodal Officer through the Senior Superintendent and the Deputy Conservator of Forests entrusted for the work. There is lot of correspondence to various offices from this office including the Government of India, Government of Kerala and Subordinate offices. Even after the clearance of the Government of India is obtained this office is monitoring the compliance of the conditions stipulated by Government for transfer of forest land for the non-forest purpose under Forest Conservation of Act, 1980.
The Diversion of Forest land for non forestry purposes under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 requires payment for raising Compensatory Afforestation, payment of Net Present Value of the forest land to be diverted, Cost of the Penal CA, cost of Catchment Area Treatment Plan etc. The amount required for Compensatory Afforestation, Net Present Value, Catchment Area Treatment Plan, Penal CA, etc are paid by the User Agency to the account of the Adhoc-CAMPA. CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) is a body constituted by the Government of India, as per the direction of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. In order to utilize the amount accrued in the Adhoc-CAMPA account fund for raising Compensatory Afforestation as well as other activities such as Conservation, Protection and Management of existing natural forest, Protection and management of forest plantations, Conservation, Protection and Management of Wildlife and its Habitat within and outside protected areas including the consolidation of the protected areas, providing research, training and capacity building the State CAMPA has been constituted in the State. Government of India will release 10% of the total amount available against the State account deposited in the Adhoc-CAMPA will be released to the State CAMPA account. State CAMPA account has been opened in the name of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests as per the orders of the Government. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests is the Chairman for the Executive Committee of the State CAMPA. The Chief Conservator of Forests (Special Afforestation) & Nodal Officer is the Member Secretary of the Steering Committee and Executive Committee of the State CAMPA. So the office of the Chief Conservator of Forests (Special Afforestation) & Nodal Officer is monitoring the realization of the fund in the accounts of CAMPA and also the utilization of the funds allotted to State CAMPA from Adhoc-CAMPA. Preparation of rules and procedure under State CAMPA and accounting procedure etc are the main functions of this office under CAMPA. Nodal officer is responsible for preparation of the schemes, Annual Plan Operations for CAMPA every year, getting it approved by the Executive Committee, Steering Committee and as well as the Government of India and implementation of the approved APO. Allotment of funds under State CAMPA to the implementing officers (DFOs) and monitoring of the physical as well as financial progress is also the duty of this office. FC1 Section is attending to the works of CAMPA.
C. No Objection Certificate to wood based industries
Another matter dealt with in this office is the issuance of No Objection Certificate to wood based industries in the State. As per the order dated 30.10.2002 of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in WP(C) No. 202/1995 the State Government should not allow starting of any wood based industrial units in the State without the concurrence of the CEC constituted by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has issued guide lines in accordance with the Supreme Court direction and constituted a State Level Committee (SLC) to monitor and regulate the working of wood based industrial units in the State. The Prl. Chief Conservator of Forests is the Chairman of the SLC and the Chief Conservator of Forests (Special Afforestation) & Nodal Officer is the Convener for the State Level Committee. Hence the job of issuing No Objection Certificate to wood based industries is now one of the main jobs done by the office of the Chief Conservator of Forests (Special Afforestation) & Nodal Officer. Also make necessary arrangements for conducting field verification for the applications received for No Objection Certificates for wood based industries, issue notices for realizing one time payments from the applicants and dispose of as per the rules subject to the approval of the State Level Committee and concurrence of Central Empowered Committee.
There are seven Sections dealing with the subject. Each section is dealing with the application pertaining to 2 districts. There were about 12000 applications out of which nearly 5000 has been disposed off as per the guidelines issued by CEC. Saw mill rules have been prepared and submitted to Government. “Kerala Forest (Regulation of sawmills and other wood based industrial units) Rules 2012” have come into force with effect from 19.04.2012, the balance application are being transferred to the Divisional Forest Officers concerned who are the authorized officers under the said Rules for the issuance of licenses.
Chief Conservator of Forests
(Special Afforestation) & Nodal Officer
Shri. Bennichan Thomas, IFS