Govt considers restructuring of Forest department

SRINAGAR: The government is mulling to restructure the Forest department to make “optimum use” of the manpower and to “further streamline” the operations of the organisation.
It was revealed by the Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment, Bali Bhagat while reviewing the operations of the department at a meeting of officers held in Jammu on Friday.
Referring to formulation of a committee of officers to suggest measures for revival of State Forest Corporation (SFC) and to promote the forest-based industry in the state, the Minister said the findings of the committee will be taken into consideration to improve the health of the Corporation.
The government, he said, is “not in favour of paying salaries to the employees without their performance”.
“Rather, it will appreciate steps which will improve the revenue realization,” he said.
The SFC has a “special mandate” to generate income by selling timber on commercial lines but it has failed to deliver as per the expectations, he said.
To streamline the process of timber extraction and to improve the revenue realization, the meeting decided to go for open tendering for extraction works over 20,000 cft.
The issues regarding setting up of more timber sale depots in the uncovered areas, revision of timber rates were also discussed in detail, with the Minister directing the authorities to come up with the proposals for approval.
Several issues related to the functioning of the department were discussed in the meeting, with the Minister seeking views of officers about making the department more “vibrant and result-oriented” through the use of available resources.
Laying stress on ensuring transparency, accountability and performance at all levels, the Minister said that these factors should be the basic benchmarks for the officers to achieve the results.
He said a dedicated approach is needed to protect the forests and natural resources across the state.
He asked the officers to chalk out a “comprehensive programme” to achieve the allocated targets.
He said the entire government is behind the officers and they will have a “free hand” to deal with this sensitive issue.