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Bali calls for concerted efforts to retrieve encroached forest land

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Drive to be launched against timber smugglers

SRINAGAR, MAY 6 – Renewing Government’s resolve to ensure zero encroachment of forest land in the State, Minister for Forest, Ecology & Environment, Bali Bhagat has called upon the officers to step up efforts to retrieve the encroached land.

While reviewing the functioning of the Forest Department at a meeting held here today under his chairmanship, the Minister stressed the need for a well-knit strategy to retrieve the land and to accomplish the targets in a time-bound manner. He called for division-wise categorization of areas for executing the operations under the supervision of senior officers and asked the officers that the vacated land must be demarcated and fenced properly to minimize the chances of future encroachment of forest wealth.

Minister of State for Forests, Mr. Abdul Majid Padder was also present in the meeting.

Appreciating the performance on the issue during the past two months, the Minister said that efforts of the officers are bearing fruit and tempo must go on with the same momentum. Similarly, the crackdown on the timber smugglers also needs to be continued with same vigor to create a deterrent among the culprits, he added.

He said that present Government was committed to ensure an era of good governance, accountability and transparency and every step required to maintain these will be taken. He said there is no place for the elements who want to harm the State wealth in whatever manner and Government will deal with such elements with heavy hand.

While taking a detailed review of various decisions taken in previous meetings, Mr. Bhagat stressed the need for a time-bound action on all the decisions with a coordinated approach by all wings of the department. He directed the members of the Committees constituted to suggest ways and means for re-organization of the Department, revival of SFC and promoting the forest based industry to expedite the process and submit their reports within a month’s time. He also directed for expediting the process of introducing the e-governance in the two capital cities viz; Jammu, Srinagar and urban local bodies to ensure complete transparency in the on-line timber sale.

Mr. Padder stressed the need for further streamlining the process of timber sale so that the needy get the timber without any difficulty. He also called for coordinated approach between different wings of the Department to achieve the common goals.

Earlier, Chief Conservator of Forest, Kashmir, Mr. Nisar Ahmed Darzi gave a power point presentation on the activities of the Forest Department in Kashmir Division and steps taken to further improve its functioning.

Principal Secretary Forest, Mr. R.K. Gupta, Principal Chief Conservative of Forest, Mr. A.K. Singh, Chairman, J&K Pollution Control Board, Mr. Abdul Razzak, Chief Wildlife Warden, Mr. Deepak Khanna, Director, SFRI, Mr. U. Pachnanda, Director State Forest Protection Force, Mr. Suresh Gupta, Managing Director SFC, Mr. Arun Tikoo, Director Soil Conservation, Mr. Ravi Kesar and other senior officers of the Forest Department were also present in the meeting.

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