Forest cover shrinking in Bihar, says CAG report
Patna,(BiharTimes): In spite of the Janata Dal (United)’s tree plantation campaign the green belt and forest cover in Bihar has shrank in the last few years.
According to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) delay in preparation of annual plan of operation, expenditure on non-existent plantations and delay in compensatory afforestation are some of the factors responsible for poor forest coverage in the state.
The report said Bihar has a recorded forest area of 6,473sq km which is just 6.87 per cent of its total geographical area. At the time of independence the then undivided Bihar has about 40 per cent forest area. By 2000, when Bihar got divided it came down to 14 per cent.
Bihar now lags far behind the national average of 23.57 per cent forest.
According to the CAG report there is no annual plan of operation for 2009-2010 and there was 12 to 15 months’ delay in preparation of annual plan for 2010-11 and 2011-12. It said compensatory afforestation fund management and planning authority set up in Bihar in January 2010 on the directive of the Supreme Court in July 2009 released Rs 7.73 crore without any receipt of annual plan of operation in 2009-10 and Rs 8.67 crore in 2010-11.
The report said non-preparation of annual plan of operation resulted in deficient planning and non-utilization of funds. The state did not develop any system or record to watch violations of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, and the agencies and departments used forest land for non-forest purposes.