Environment ministry clears projects worth Rs.162 crore

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) The environment and forests ministry on Wednesday approved projects worth Rs.162 crore for conserving the environment and saving endangered species.

The announcement was made following the 6th meeting of the National (CAMPA)Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority Advisory Council (NCAC) here.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar is the chairperson of the advisory council which has Rs.250 crore at its disposal.

Listing the projects that were approved at the meeting, Javadekar said the Urban Forest Nagar project will on a pilot basis to create 200 city forests, each covering an area of upto 100 hectares and minimum 20 hectares.

“We want to create forests in 200 (municipal) corporation cities in India. We are granting Rs.1 crore to each city at the initial stage. As more projects will come, we will increase the flow (of funds later),” Javadekar said.

“We are hopeful that this year, 50 cities will start this project and therefore Rs.50 crore have been allocated.”

“Secondly, implementation is very important but till now monitoring was lacking. Now, we will use satellites to monitor everything including forest fires, actual plantation and its growth, encroachment, afforestation, etc,” the minister said.

“We have granted Rs.75 crore for this,” he said.

A new programme to teach nature conservation to children was also approved by the ministry.

According to Javadekar, school students will make their own pots, sow seeds, grow the sapling all through their academic year and after their annual exams, can take the plant home.

“I am sure this year, more than 1,000 schools will participate and we will provide Rs.5 crore for it (project),” said the minister.

The ministry further announced the setting up of a biomass power plant in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and has allocated Rs.5 crore for it.

“Andaman today depends upon diesel for energy… which causes pollution. We want to do away with this. There is tremendous biomass available in Andaman. We are starting this pilot project of one megawatt and we have given Rs.5 crore.”

In addition, Rs.20 crore have been allocated to conserve five endangered species — Dugong, Gangetic Dolphins, Great indian Bustard, Manipur Brow Antler Deer and Wild Water Buffalo.

Javadekar said support will be extended to the Forest Survey of India for setting up a centre of excellence and evaluation of CAMPA works for which Rs.5 crore have been earmarked. Furthermore, Rs.5 crore have been earmarked for monitoring corals and mangroves.

“In the last five years, the funds were not utilised. Therefore Rs.250 crore were lying (unused). Today (Wednesday) we held a meeting and have sanctioned Rs.162 crore for many projects,” Javadekar said.

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