CS stresses on Digital Mapping of Forests, dedicated area for Medicinal Plants

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SRINAGAR: Setting a target of 5416 Ha (area) to be treated for Compensatory Afforestation during 2014-15, the Steering Committee of CAMPA headed by Chief Secretary, Mohammad Iqbal Khandey Thursday approved an outlay of Rs 49 crore for the purpose. The Committee also gave approval to the annual plan of operation of the wildlife department to the tune of Rs 7.86 crore.
Chairing the 9th Steering Committee meeting of State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) here, Mr Khandey called for sustained focus on plantation of trees to further improve the Forest cover across all districts together with conservation, protection and management of State’s unique wildlife.
Chief Secretary stressed on dedicating 5% area in all Forest Nurseries for raising Medicinal Plants besides enhancing the period of watch and ward of the newly planted trees to further improve the chances of their survival and growth in the Forests.
Mr Khandey also directed for early completion of Digital Mapping of entire Forest area, boundaries and recording of geographical coordinates of all boundary pillars, CAMPA closures and the Forest Protection Network Grid of Forest Check Posts, Control Rooms and Field Gamma Units, so that a comprehensive GIS based data is obtained.
Under CAMPA Scheme which has entered the 5th Year of execution, over 20,000 Ha have been brought under Compensatory Afforestation and over 150 lakh trees have been planted. During 2013-14, an area covering 7612 Ha was treated for Afforestation and as many as 61 Lakh trees were raised in Nurseries and 54 Lakh saplings were planted besides fencing of 24 Lakh Rft forest area was completed.
Various species of trees like conifers including Deodar, Kial, Fir Chir, Pinus, Cupresses and Broad Leaved including Arjun, Robina, Walnut, Wild Apricot, Khair, Jamun, Amla, Amaltus etc, are raised in Forest Nurseries spread across all districts of the State. From the Nurseries, the Saplings are transplanted to various Forest areas.
PCCF, J&K, Mr Abhai Kumar gave a detailed presentation on the work done and achievements registered over the last 4 years under various components of CAMPA. He said that with the establishment of GIS labs at Jammu and Srinagar, the exercise of digitizing different forest features and documents has already started. He said pace of Compensatory Afforestation across all Forest circles has seen improvement besides CAMPA works have been put under 3rd Party Monitoring and Evaluation system and the report in this regard will be completed and submitted soon.
Chief Wildlife Warden, J&K, A. K. Singh informed the Committee that management plans for protected areas is under progress besides Wild Life surveys of various animal and bird species is underway and draft reports for some of them are ready. He said Wild Life Training Institute at Jasrota Kathua is imparting necessary training to the frontline wildlife staff of the state.
The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, Planning and Development, B. R. Sharma, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Secretary, Forests, Mohammad Afzal Bhat and other senior officers of the Forest and Wildlife Department.