The Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill, which aims to pave the way for “unlocking” of Rs 41,000 crore earmarked for forest land, would be passed in the upcoming session of the Parliament, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said on June 3. “CAF Bill got passed in the Lok Sabha. We expect the Bill to be passed in the Rajya Sabha in the next session.
“In this session it (Bill) could have been passed if there was some cooperation. Four months could have been saved. In four months, more trees could have been planted. But then it’s okay, it’s better to be late than never,” Goyal said during the release of an NTPC coffee table book on bio diversity. If passed, the CAF Bill, 2015 will pave the way for expeditious utilisation of funds realised for forest land diverted to non-forest purposes in a transparent manner.
It will also “unlock” nearly Rs 41,000 crore earmarked for forest land which is lying unspent for about four years. Stressing on the rejuvenation of the depleted forest cover, the minister said there is a need to take the country’s valuable forest cover to the level where “our ancestors left it”. The mission of the present government is to increase use of clean technologies and renewable energy for power generation, making India the Clean Energy Capital of the world. He also emphasised on the need to restore the forest cover through massive tree plantation.
The minister urged NTPC to increase its tree plantation target and keep a proper record reflecting ownership of the activity. He said the power sector in India is focusing on environment sustainability and NTPC has taken a lead by preserving flora and fauna in and around its power stations. Goyal congratulated NTPC on its 4,670 MW largest power station at Vindhyachal achieving 100.05 percent PLF generating 114 MUs in a day.