JAMMU, FEBRUARY 28- Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Choudhary Lal Singh today said the Government won’t compromise on encroachments and the violators would be dealt strictly under the law.
The Minister was speaking at a high-level meeting of the officers of Forests and its allied wings convened to review the progress of plantation on national highway, removal of encroachments from forest land, development of nurseries of SFRI, utilization of funds under CAMPA, restoration of revered talabs, online consent management of SPCB, Eco-Tourism Plants and Jambu Zoo at Khanpur in Nagrota.
The meeting was attended by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Ravi Kesar, Chairman SPCB B Sidhartha Kumar, Director Social Forestry Ashwani Gupta, Director Environment and Remote Sensing O P Sharma, Additional PCCF N P Singh, Director Soil Water and Conservation Javed Iqbal Punju, Chief Conservator of Forests Eco-Tourism J Frankoi, Managing Director State Forest Corporation Suresh Gupta, Conservator of Forests Farooq Gillani, Director SFRI B M Sharma, Conservator of Forests East Circle Kh Qamar-ud-Din, Regional Director Social Forestry Roop Kour Avtar, Regional Director Wildlife Dr V S Sinthil Kumar, Regional Director Ch Showkat Ali besides other senior officers.
The Minister directed the SPCB to send formal notices to the stone crushers, brick kiln owners and cement factories those are yet to install scientific devices at their units to contain the pollution. He also asked the officers to keep strict vigil on encroachments and dealt with the offenders under law. He directed to strengthen the infrastructure of SPCB for achieving tangible results in a time bound manner.
Choudhary Lal Singh said that Government has taken strict measures to remove encroachments from the forests. In the process, he said, during the last 2 years, Forest Department has retrieved 2903.65 hectares unrecorded/freshly encroached land across Jammu region including 205 hectares in Jammu city and its outskirts.
The Minister said that Government is working on comprehensive policies to protect and preserve the forests and wildlife across the State. He said demarcation of the Forest and Wildlife land has been started across the State. He assured that strict action would be taken against the encroachers and poachers.
Choudhary Lal Singh called upon the department to ensure greater participation of the civil society and encourage them to act as motivators against poaching, encroachment of the forests. He stressed on improving the delivery mechanism in the department through innovative initiatives and asked the concerned officers to conduct frequent field visits to take stock of the functioning of the subordinate units.
The Minister said the department has embarked on many new programmes, including the establishment of hi-tech nurseries and upgradation of existing nurseries for production of quality planting stocks with a vision of raising 15 cr saplings annually. He asked the SFRI to develop nurseries on modern lines with fruit and ornamental plants.
The Minister directed the officers to revive and strengthen the defunct nurseries by developing ornamental species. He directed to remove bushes, proper landscaping, irrigation of parks and forests. He asked for constructing small ponds in forests and nurseries for irrigation purpose. He also directed for proper patrolling on check posts to avoid theft of timber.
Choudhary Lal Singh said several measures are underway to strengthen the department at various levels. He said Forests department is directly connected with the health of the people, therefore, the functionaries of the organization must put in their best efforts to achieve the objective,” he said.
The Minister stressed the need for evolving innovative mechanism to implement the Central and State Sponsored Schemes by the Forest and its allied departments to maintain a healthy environment in Jammu and Kashmir.
Stressing the need for close coordination between various agencies to achieve the common goal, Choudhary Lal Singh said that collective efforts between the departments like industry, local bodies, and transport can ensure better results. He said these agencies must work in synergy and review the progress of various common issues periodically to address these expeditiously.