Directs officials to file cases against those causing damage to forests
Pampore: Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force, Roshan Jaggi, made a significant announcement during his visit to Pampore, underscoring the importance of proactive measures to combat forest fires and protect natural resources.
Conservator of Forests, South Circle, Irfan Ali Shah, and Divisional Forest Officer, Awantipora, Waseem Farooq were present during the visit in Pampore.
In a meeting with forest officials, he stressed the necessity of maintaining a prepared joint team that can swiftly respond to forest fire incidents. He emphasized the need for a pre-established strategy, ensuring that resources are readily available to address any fire emergency.
“This proactive approach aims to minimize response time and enhance the effectiveness of firefighting efforts,” he said.
Roshan left no room for ambiguity regarding those responsible for forest fires and forest damage. He issued a directive to forest officials that individuals found involved in such activities should not escape accountability. “Strict action must be taken against them, following a thorough and comprehensive investigation,” he said.
He instructed the forest officials to register cases against those individuals who are responsible for causing forest fires or damage. He highlighted the importance of identifying and penalizing individuals involved in these activities at the grassroots level, particularly within gram panchayats.
The PCCF said that FIRs should be filed against these offenders to ensure legal consequences for their actions.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, PCCF Roshan Jaggi expressed concern over incidents like forest fires and the damage caused to precious natural resources.
“Such events should not occur, and this is why we have laws in place. The forest officials will work diligently to ensure that legal action is taken when necessary, leaving no room for leniency toward those who take the law into their own hands,” he said.
The officer said that the challenges faced by the forest department today are not new, but the department has a robust mechanism in place to deal with them. “This mechanism comprises both legal and administrative components, ensuring a comprehensive approach to address forest-related issues effectively,” he said.
However, he also appealed to the community, particularly in areas like village panchayats, where elements involved in damaging natural resources are prevalent. He urged panchayats to pass resolutions against such individuals, as this strengthens the case for taking action against those who harm their villages.
He highlighted that when such resolutions reach the range officer, it results in stronger actions, underscoring the community’s determination to protect their environment.
“Forest protection remains the primary duty of the forest department, and it is approached in two ways. The first involves active participation from the community, known as joint forest management, with a special focus on engaging panchayat raj institutions and village forest committees. This approach is considered a priority sector for the department. However, some incidents require a different approach, where reasoning and persuasion may not be effective. In such cases, the forest department leverages provisions and acts related to forests and carries out joint enforcement,” he said.
Roshan stressed the importance of sitting down with the community, discussing the challenges, and finding effective solutions through cooperation.
During the forest fire season, the PCCF encouraged forest officials to engage with local communities, especially gram panchayats, to ensure they understand the significance of protecting their forests.