Deals on paper

The salient features of the new government scheme which would allow paper plantations to stay on degraded forests are:

• The selection of the project area shall be done jointly by the forest department, Forest Development Corporations (FDC), and the industries/entrepreneurs. Only degraded forests of less than 10 per cent average density will be selected and the minimum area of a plot shall be 100 hectares or more as may be decided by the states.

• All fund required for afforestation will be made available by the industry/entrepreneurs. However, Central government, as well as state governments including FDCs, may assist the industry/entrepreneurs in obtaining credit from the concerned financial institution on reasonable terms.

• The initial agreement period shall be of 30 years. There will be a clause for renewal for a further period of upto 30 years.

• Twenty per cent of each plot will be the forest department's property and would be afforested with species determined by the state forest department in consultation with local village community.

• A Technical Management Committee responsible for species selection, spacing and harvesting cycle will be formed with 50 per cent representation from state governments/FDCs and 50 per cent from the firm.

• All arrangements will be worked out through a Memorandum of Understanding between the user industry and the FDC.