Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment Choudhary Lal Singh directed the Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) of Forests department and its allied wings to gear up their men and machinery for a massive plantation drive during the monsoon season.
He asked the department to identify the open spaces and plant Chinar, Kainth, Mango, Peepal, Jamun etc trees.
Minister was addressing Conservator Forests, Divisional Forest Officers and Rangers after inaugurating one day training-cum-orientation programme on plantation techniques (TCOPPT) for frontline staff at Forest Information Centre, Bikram Chowk, here today.
Chief Conservator of Forests Farooq Gillani, Director Social Forestry A K Gupta, Conservator of Forests East circle Kh Qamar-ud-Din, Conservator of Forest, T B Singh besides other senior officers of Forests and its allied wings of Jammu province were present on the occasion.
Choudhary Lal Singh asked the Divisional Forest Officers to identify the open spaces of Forest land and other suitable areas for taking up plantations during the monsoon to expand the green cover in Jammu region. He also exhorted upon people to actively take part in the plantation drives to be part of the forest and ecology conservation taken up by the department on mission mode.
The Minister asked the DFOs to plant trees as per the potential of the area as per prescribed guidelines for speedy growth of the planted saplings. He informed Government has established 129 forest nurseries in the State and instructions issued to the DFOs for growing saplings of Chinar and Fruit plants.
The Minister appealed the villagers to avoid cutting trees on their private land. He assured that adequate timber would be provided to people through the government timber sale depots when they require it.
Taking serious note of certain complaints of encroachment of Forest Land at Rajouri and Reasi districts, the Minister directed the concerned Divisional Forest Officers to immediately take action in this regard and submit a report within a week’s time. He also stressed on maintaining proper records to protect the forest cover in the district.
Later, the Minister reviewed the district-wise progress of demarcation and reclamation of encroached forest land and asked the concerned to expedite its demarcation and fencing. He also asked them to act sternly against encroachers to retrieve forest land and put it to original use.
Choudhary Lal Singh said that the Government would act tough against the timber smugglers. He directed the Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) to remain present in their place of positing and take a detailed review of their divisions.