Day celebratede across South Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Conservator of Forests, South Kashmir, Irfan Ali Shah planted a Deodar tree sapling in Kokernag and Daksum forests to kickstart the celebrations of International Day of Forests which is observed every year on March 21.
DFO Anantnag Mohammad Ramzan Mir, DDC chairpersons, BDC Chairpersons nd members, SDPO Kokernag, SHO Larnoo, SHO Kokernag, Officers from local administration, Range officers, members of local Auqaaf committee, Local Municipality officers, NGO representatives, media and local public in large numbers were present on the occasion.
Highlighting the importance of World Forestry Day, the Conservator of Forests underlined the importance of understanding the value, significance and contribution of the forests in balancing the life cycle on earth.
He said the theme for International Day of Forests 2022 is “Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption”. He said that it signifies that the water we drink, air we breathe, medicines we take and shelter we have comes from forests only, hence there is need to use the forest products in an judicious manner.
He sought cooperation from public representatives, community organizations and the general public for addressing issues like forest fires and soil denudation, which pose a serious challenge to the green gold.
After kick-starting plantation drive at Kokernag and Daksum, he also inaugurated a trekking route developed by the Forest Department for local youth, nature lovers and Trekkers in Daksum forests.
The Conservator of Forests informed that more than 18 trek routes have been developed by the Forest Department in South Kashmir.
Eight trek routes have been opened in different districts here and rest will be opened by next month with melting of snow in higher reached.
He said under the flagship Green J&K Drive program, 10 Lakh saplings of Deodar, Kail, Other broadleaved and wild fruit species have been planted till date in newly established Plantation Units across the four districts of South Kashmir during the current financial year.
During this year, the department has also celebrated ‘Forestry Week’ from 14th to 21st March, 2022 where more than 1.25 lacs medicinal plants and Wild Apricots were planted and walnut dibbling was done on a voluntary basis by Forest staff across five forest divisions of South Kashmir to increase Green cover and to provide food to wild animals in forests in order to minimize wild animal conflicts over and above the regular approved planting targets.
Ali said sale counters for conifer saplings have also been set up at all major forest offices and nurseries for the general public. He informed that under Har Gaon Haryali each village is being covered for greening of areas outside forest areas and for making our villages more green.
Under One Beat Guard One Village program, thousands of plants have been planted in South Kashmir. He said thousands of mandays of employment has been generated through MNREGA Convergence in South Kashmir during the current financial year.
Moreover, he said the Green India Mission is being implemented for the first time in South Kashmir in Shopian District and shall be gradually extended to Anantnag, Kulgam and Pulwama districts as well. He said Greening of all major religious places including Shrines, Gurdwaras, Temples etc in South Kashmir shall be taken in mission mode by Forest Department during this year so that locals get benefitted both spiritually as well as by clean environment when they visit shrines and temples.
He also informed that maintenance of all water bodies especially inside forest areas has initiated under “Van Se Jal Jal Se Jeevan” program
He further added that most of the Forest Rest Houses in South Kashmir have been opened for online booking and many new Rest Houses are being constructed including at Aharbal waterfall Kulgam to promote Ecotourism.
Conservator of Forests said that homestay program is also being introduced for tourists and visitors so as to generate employment for local youth and also appreciation and understanding of our rich cultural ethos
He said Daksum was chosen for kickstarting International Forestry Day celebrations because it’s covered by the snow-covered Pir Panjal range with verdant coniferous forests with rich diversity of medicinal plants, beautiful nomadic shepherd kothas, grassy meadows and the sound of Bhringi River which is soothing.
The local trout fish is a delight for Anglers. He said Daksum is a destination that would make any one fall for its charm and needs to be promoted as an high end Ecotourism destination.
On the occasion, saplings of different species were planted by locals and forest officials. The local public as well as volunteers were also provided conifer saplings free of cost for planting in homes and suitable places.
Similar programs were also conducted in all five forest Divisions of South Kashmir including Kulgam, Awantipora, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam where Senior officers from local administration, representatives of Panchayat Raj Institutions, Biodiversity management committees, local Auqaaf committees, students and NGOs participated in large numbers and hundreds of saplings were planted.

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