SRINAGAR: The Forest Department Anantnag today organised a Biodiversity awareness programme at Forest Campus Bijbehara in which 40 Range Officer Trainees from Himachal Pradesh Forest Academy participated.
Conservator of Forests, South Circle, Irfan Ali Shah was the Chief Guest on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, Conservator of Forests highlighted various Greening and livelihoods initiatives of the Forest department. He talked about biodiversity of Jammu and Kashmir and mentioned about 42 types of Forests in J&K. He further said that South Kashmir is blessed with different water bodies, lush green forests of Fir, Kail, Deodar and rivers like Lidder, Aharabal, Rambiara, Bringi etc.
He said that there are 22 Forest Nurseries in Kashmir South Circle having a total of about 22 lac plant potential and every year about 5-6 lac plants are taken out from these Nurseries. These Nurseries are being managed in line with the modern scientific technologies and not only act as a source of successful plantation but also provide livelihood to the people of South Kashmir.
Shah talked about the Green J&K Drive programme of the Department and said that 100 percent of the target has been achieved by Kashmir South Circle against the target of 16.50 lac plants. He also talked about other flagship programmes like Har Gaon Haryali, One Beat Guard One Village Programme and involvement of locals as well as representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions for achieving the desired targets.
He further said that seed ball technology has also been introduced by J&K Forest Department which is low cost greening intervention technology adopted by the Forest Department during previous year for treatment of degraded lands at very low cost. He added that saplings in thousands including of Deodar, Poplar mawas have been distributed among the public free of cost in South Kashmir. He also said that plantation units are being raised by the Forest department to treat the degraded forest areas and have a good success rate.
He also spoke about the Nagar Van Scheme under which towns and peri urban areas have been taken up for creating green lungs. All these plantation programmes are being taken up in collaborative mode along with all the stakeholders like Panchayat Raj institutions, DDCs, Sarpanchs, Army, Educational Institutions, Health Department and other line departments. He also said that in order to provide livelihood opportunities to the locals, about 6.80 lacs man days are likely to be generated in South Kashmir under MGNREGA Convergence.
The Conservator of Forests also spoke about Wood Based industry and said that we support the wood based industries as these are providing livelihood to a lot of people connected with it. He further said that meetings of the State Level Committee headed by PCCF J&K are being held regularly now who accord various kinds of approvals for such Industries.
Shah said that Forest protection is the prime responsibility of the department and informed that day and night patrolling of vulnerable pockets is being done in South Kashmir despite operational challenges. The Forest Check posts have been made fully functional and use of modern technology like installation of CCTVs for enhanced surveillance has also been done. For effective protection, various Joint Forest Control Rooms are also functional. He also talked about Forest fires and their management.
Tilak Raj Sharma, Joint Director Academics Himachal Pradesh Forest Academy also spoke on the occasion who during his speech thanked the Conservator of Forests for presenting a brief overview of working of Forest Department.
Among others, Dr. Mehraj, Divisional Forest Officer Lidder, Dr. Mumtaz Majeed,Deputy Director FPF Lidder, Nawab Ahmad Magray, Deputy Director FPF Anantnag and other Forest frontline staff of Lidder Forest Division participated in the programme.