The Environment Ministry will hold a series of country-wide public meetings from next week to discuss the proposed Rs 44,000 crore Green Mission which aims to increase the total forest cover by 20 million hectares by 2020.

The consultations are in keeping with Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s decision to discuss the mission with NGOs and various stakeholders before framing its blueprint, a part of the government’s plan to tackle climate change.

The first meeting will be held in Guwahati on June 11 to be followed in Visakhapatnam on June 15 and Pune on June 19. The fourth meeting will be held in Deharadun (June 22), Bhopal (June 30), Jaipur (July 2) and Mysore on July 5.

Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environment Education (CEE) which had organised country-wide public consultations on controversial Bt brinjal will hold the meeting to be chaired by Mr. Ramesh.

This is the first mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) which is going through public scrutiny.

Of the eight missions under the NAPCC launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year, the government has already started implementing Solar, Energy Efficient and the Water Mission which was approved last Friday.

“We hope by the end of August we would be in a position to have a final design of the Mission,” Mr. Ramesh had said recently.

The proposed draft emphasises a holistic approach to greening with an aim to focus just not on plantations and trees, but also on restoring diverse ecosystems.

Regarding funding of the mission, Mr. Ramesh said, “Initially, the money was proposed from Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) collected from states in lieu of diversion of forest land.

“But now with CAMPA money being diverted to states as directed by the Supreme Court, we are looking towards planning commission besides development agencies and under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for funds.”