JK wood imports touch 400 crore annually

Ample scope for farmers and wood based entrepreneurs to enhance wood cultivation: PCCF

SRINAGAR: Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & HoFF, J&K, Dr. Mohit Gera on Friday said that there is ample scope for wood cultivation as JK given imports of wood have touched Rs 400 crore annually.
He added that farmers and wood based entrepreneurs can enhance wood cultivation and wood based industry. He expressed optimism that with the focus of Government for promotion of wood based industries and non-wood forest products for creation of livelihood, the role of forest sector can be substantially enhanced in economy of J&K.
He was speaking at discussion between Forest Department and Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir to discuss various issues pertaining to promotion of wood based industries in Kashmir at Forest Headquarters, Sheikh Bagh here.
At the outset, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & HoFF, J&K, Dr. Mohit Gera, explained the need of reducing the rotation of trees grown on Farm lands such as Poplars and Willows, from the current average felling cycle of 20 years through improved techniques of growth and management, thereby reducing the girth requirement from 48” to about 18”-20” for plywood and other value added products.
Former president FCIK, S Qalander presented his memorandum of demands with the expectation that they shall be addressed, including pertinent issues related to licensing of saw mills, need for dispensing of license requirement for furniture/ Joinery units, relook at renewal period of licenses, etc,. He further welcomed online registration option developed by Forest Department for processing requests for fresh licenses and renewal of old licenses.
The Chief Conservator of Forests, Kashmir, T. Rabi Kumar, explained that the Department is proactive in addressing the issues related to wood based industries. He informed the House that just a day before (on 08.07.2021), four cases were approved by 6th SLC for providing licenses to Veneer units, 63 for Saw Mills/ Cricket bat industry and 15 for Joinery Units within the purview of available quota.
S Kamili (President FCIK) highlighted the need for exploring ‘ease of doing business’ approach as it would accelerate revenue generation by the industries and thereby improve contribution of wood based industries to GDP. He also requested for improving protocol for extraction of Non Timber Forest Products.
Concluding the session the Pr. Chief Conservator of Forests/HoFF, J&K informed the participants about recent developments in line of ease of doing business initiated by the Department, such as:
· e way bill is considered equivalent to F-25 for transit of forest produce, post re-organization of the State.
· Rules for transit of forest produce notified in 2020 which are hassle-free and transparent.
· One time registration of Timber Sale Depots vide rules notified in 2020.
It was agreed that SRO-103 needs to be reviewed and shall be taken up with the Government after careful consideration of all parameters. Better coordination between farmer and industry for price assurance of raw material was emphasized. He also informed regarding study of raw material availability which has been already entrusted to Forest Survey of India and assured that the department will follow up for early report.
The interaction ended with positive note for resolution of issues for encouragement of wood based industries as well as farmers through better coordination and regular meetings which would facilitate enhanced contribution of wood based industry towards GDP and overall well being of common man as envisaged by Lt. Governor J&K during his recent instructions to Forest Department at Raj Bhawan, Srinagar on the occasion of commemoration of foundation day of Forest Department.

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