Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmauri said that the total cost of trees on 732. 78 hectares forest land for establishing Strategic National Security Project at Paonta Sahib in district Sirmaur by Defence Research and Development Organization of Ministry of Defence was Rs. 277.19 crore. He said that the Defence Ministry had deposited Rs. 240 crore in June, 2010 and Rs. 37.19 crore in January, 2011 with the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and now this amount stands at Rs. 325 crore with interest.
Shri Bharmauri said that this amount of Rs. 277.19 crore was to be given to Himachal Pradesh but it was deposited in CAMPA Fund by mistake by the Defence Ministry. He said that no sanction in principle to transfer the cost of trees to State Government was given in the meeting of Union Environment and Forest Ministry was given on 12th November, 2011 but it was decided that the funds which accrued to the State at the cost of forest ecology should form part of the CAMPA funds which were being retained as separate corpus on the basis of orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. He said that this issue was under consideration of National CAMPA Advisory Council who had sent it to a High Powered Committee.
Forest Minister said that Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh had also taken up this issue with Union Environment and Forest Minister Smt. Jayanti Natrajan on 18th July, 2013 effectively by writing a letter in this regard. He said that this issue was considered in 24th meeting of Adhoc CAMPA on 8th August, 2013 after receiving recommendation from High-level Committee and it was recommended to transfer the proceeds on account of cost of trees of the project to the State Government. This recommendation had been sent to National CAMPA Advisory Council for further action. It is hoped that this amount would soon be transferred to the State Government.