SRINAGAR, Sep 11: Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology Mr. Bali Bhagat Friday called for concerted efforts to bring more land under forests in the State besides launching measures to protect and conserve the precious green gold.
The Minister said this while chairing a meeting of officers convened to review the functioning of forest department of Kashmir Division.
The Minister stressed on taking up the fencing work immediately on all retrieved forest lands and its demarcation and uploading on the Global Positioning System (GPS). He said forest demarcation would prevent chances of encroachment in future. He called upon the officers to take steps to retrieve the forest land wherever it has been encroached.
Mr. Bhagat said that the forest guards of the department would be imparted one week training to further improve their efficacy. He also stressed on identifying four areas for producing medicinal plants in Kashmir Division besides directing clearing the pending SRO-43 cases within one month.
The Minister called for devising a well-knit strategy to strengthen the intelligence network to identify forest encroachers, persons involved in green tree felling, timber and other minor forest produce smugglers so that they could be booked under law.
Earlier, Chief Conservator of Forest, Kashmir Nisar Ahmad Darzi gave a power point presentation on the activities of the department in Kashmir Division and steps taken for further improving its functioning.
The meeting was informed the department has realized an amount of Rs. 2.89 crore during the last eight months. The department has seized 12628 cfts timber, 42 vehicles, 81 horses and 2 boats during the current year. An amount of Rs 4.920 lakh has been realized against the confiscated timber up to last month. As many as 155.45 Ha forest land has been categorized in 12 divisions of the Valley, the meeting was informed.
The department would plant 13.56 lakh plants over 1045 hectares of forest land in 56 compartments under CAMPA this year, the meeting was informed.
The issues including pay anomaly, risk allowance, re-structuring of department, regularization of left over daily wagers and funding for damaged departmental infrastructure were also discussed threadbare in the meeting.
Among others, Principal Secretary, Forest Mr. R K Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Mr. A K Singh, Conservators of Forest and Divisional Forest Officers of Kashmir Division were also present in the meeting.