Approves additional APO for forest land demarcation
Srinagar: In its 23rd Steering Committee meeting of J&K Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) headed by Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta today gave its in principle nod to the additional Annual Plan of Operation (APO) for meeting the target of sowing 1.75 Cr saplings besides carrying out demarcation of the boundaries of all the vulnerable forest areas.
The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, Forests; Principal Secretary, Finance; PCCF, HoFF; Chief Wildlife Warden; PCCF (CEO), CAMPA; DG, Planning; Addl CCFs besides other concerned officers of the Department.
Outstation based officers participated in the meeting through video conferencing.
During this meeting the Chief Secretary enjoined upon the officers to attain all the deliverables set for the department on time. He stressed on achieving the target of sowing 1.75 Cr saplings and distribution of 90 lakh seed balls as envisaged under the annual plan of the department.
Dr Mehta also impressed upon the officers to focus on revitalization of the degraded forest areas and ensure that the dense and moderate forest cover of the UT increases with time. He maintained that the peculiarity of this region is its unique ecology and environment, which distinguishes it from other States/UTs. He made out that the Department has the responsibility to maintain it sustainably.
The Chief Secretary impressed upon the officers of the Department to complete the process of demarcation and geo-referencing of all the forest areas forthwith before the onset of winters. He called for setting up of new benchmarks in management of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wetlands and notified areas. He asked for complete digitization of official records and fixing of their boundaries to evade any chances of trespassing.
Dr Mehta called for making all the forest areas plastic-free. He observed that forests are the best places to de-stress the minds and the department should encourage people to visit these natural habitats and promote eco-tourism. He advised installation of proper signages and other bill boards containing information in a manner so that people are informed about the utility and significance of such treasure troves.
On the occasion Dr Mehta also released a document capturing the restoration plan for Gharana Wetland of Suchetgarh, Jammu. He took note of all the measures taken for restoration of other waterbodies like Wular, Mansar, Surinsar and Shalabugh. He advised that the restoration measures for protection of these water bodies should be gauged separately as the Department has both the expertise and resources to do the same.
He also recalled the measures taken a year back to make Palli Panchayat of District Samba a carbon-neutral village. He maintained that in order to achieve the target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2047 as aspired by the Prime Minister it is essential to have Panchayat level carbon neutral plans to make this happen within the deadline.
On the occasion the Principal Secretary, Forest, Dheeraj Gupta informed the meeting that the Department is going to complete the demarcation of the vulnerable forest areas by 15th of December this year. He also said that process of digitisation and geo-referencing of all the forest areas will be achieved by the end of the current financial year.
The CEO, CAMPA in his presentation gave out that the Department had an original APO outlay of Rs 272 Cr for 2023-24. He further elucidated that in order to achieve the milestones of planting 1.75 Cr saplings, installation of nearly 1,16,266 boundary pillars and digitization and geo-referencing of forest lands it has become imperative to ask for the additional APO to the tune of ₹53.44 Cr. This is in addition to the amount invested through ploughing back of savings made on tendering and other interest amounts of the department taking the total additional requirement to ₹81.24 Cr for the financial year.
It was further apprised that department saved an amount of ₹ 16.28 Cr through e-tendering of its works. The additional works envisaged under the funding includes installation of additional 89,569 BPs, 8.5 lakh plants and digitization and demarcation of forest boundary lines and works related to protected areas in the UT.