A two-judge Bench of the High Court led by Chief Justice J.K. Maheswari and comprising Justice K. Lalitha Kumari on Monday gave a month’s time to the government to submit a counter-affidavit in response to a writ filed on alleged non-implementation of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority Act (CAMPA) and misuse /diversion of the fund collected from user agencies.

The petitioner, Thota Suresh Babu from Guntur, claimed that the government failed in implementing the CAMPA, under which it received nearly ₹1,735 crore in 2019.

His advocate N. Srinivasa Rao stated in the petition that the Central and the State governments were duty-bound to protect and manage the forests and wildlife and regenerate natural forests, but both were negligent in this regard.

The government is supposed to ensure that not less than 33% of the geographical area is covered by forests for the maintenance of ecological balance but the goal is not in sight.

The petitioner prayed that the government’s action of non-implementation of CAMPA be declared violative of the Forest Conservation Act, the Protection of Wild Life Act, the Environment Protection Act and Article 19 of the Constitution, and to direct the respondents (the departments concerned of Central and State governments) to implement the said Act and properly utilise the funds thereof.

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