JAMMU: Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Choudhary Lal Singh Friday launched a Mega Plantation Drive at Jambu Zoo, Nagrota.
Minister of State for Transport and PWD, Sunil Kumar Sharma and Vice Chairman SICOP Ali Mohammad Mir were also present on the occasion.
As part of the drive, about 25000 ornamental and fruit plants of different species were planted by the officers and staff of Forests, Wildlife, State Forest Corporation, Social Forestry, Soil and Water Conservation, Forest Protection Force, State Pollution Control Board, State Forest Research Institute and Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Ravi Kesar, Chief Wildlife Warden Manoj Pant, Chairman Pollution Control Board B Sidhartha, Managing Director State Forest Corporation Suresh Gupta, Director, Social Forestry, Ashwani Gupta, Chief Conservator Forests, Farooq Gillani, Director FPF Asif Mohammad Sagar, Director SFRI B M Sharma, Director Soil Conservation Javed Iqbal Punjoo, Regional Wildlife Warden Dr V S Sinthil Kumar, Conservator East Corcle Kh Qamar-ud-Din, Conservator Chenab Circle T B Singh, Regional Director Social Forestry Roop Kour Avtar besides Divisional Forest Officers were also present on the occasion.
The Minister said that people must plant trees and contribute back to the environment for the benevolence of the State’s ecological affairs. He said trees provide a healthy and quality environment to the people, adding that it is the duty of each one to plant trees in and around their areas.
Choudhary Lal Singh said that the department is committed to save forests and sought public cooperation. He directed the DFOs to develop every open and roadside strip of their respective jurisdictions with ornamental and medicinal plants. He directed the officers to develop nurseries in coldest areas of the region with ornamental, fruit like Amla, Pear, Guava, Bar, Grapes and Tropical apple saplings.
The Minister asked them to plant Bhord tree on the edge areas of the revered ponds of Jammu region. He asked the Forest Department to pay frequent visits to the nurseries and personally monitor the irrigation of planted plants along the roadside strips from Lakhanpur to Banihal.
Lal Singh said that the Government is aiming to provide green cover to schools, colleges and other educational institutes.
Later, the Minister inspected the ongoing development works in the Jambu Zoo and asked the Wildlife Department to expedite work on the project for timely completion so that the spot serves as a major attraction for tourists especially wildlife lovers.
Terming the project vital for attracting tourists to Jammu, Choudhary Lal Singh said it will also help in preservation and protection of forest land. He asked the executing agency to use the quality material on animal enclosures, approach roads, entry gate and waterfall etc. He informed that the Government has provided Rs 121 crore for developing Jambu Zoo on the pattern of Asia Zoo over the land of 5000 kanal which will facilitate people see the animals in their natural habitat.
The zoo will house animals like sambar dear, spotted deer, blue bull, black buck, barking deer, hog deer, goat, fishing cat, bear sloth, wild boar, crocodile etc.
Speaking on the occasion, Sunil Kumar Sharma appreciated the efforts of Forest Department in protecting and preserving the state’s green gold and expressed hope that they will continue their initiative with the same spirit.