Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, Chaudhary Lal Singh today said that Government has pledged to ban use of polythene bags at all tourist places including pilgrimage places.The Minister in this regard commenced his anti-polythene drive from world famous Pahalgam tourist resort. He asked the officials to implement the ban in letter and spirit. “We have declared Pahalgam as polythene free zone,” Mr Singh informed a huge gathering of school children, villagers and officials of the Forest and its other allied departments during a plantation drive function in Army Goodwill School in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam area.“
Anybody found with polythene will have to pay fine and Government will deal very strictly with such offenders now. We can’t let our environment get devastated for these things now,” Mr Singh said.The Minster supervised the anti-polythene drive in Pahalgam and visited all the markets to take assessment of the available stock of polythene. The officials of Forest Protection Force along with some senior officers destroyed the stocks of the polythene.The Minister on the occasion interacted with the traders and asked them to destroy their polythene stocks within this week after which, strict action would be initiated against the offenders.
The Minister also urged Amarnath yatris and other tourists to refrain from using polythene bags while touring the eco-sensitive valley.The Minister was accompanied by Director Pollution Control Board, Mr Abdul Razaq, Managing Director, State Forest Corporation, Mr AK Tikku, Chief Wildlife Warden, Kashmir, AK Khanna, Chief Conservator, Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad Darzi and officials Social Forestry, Forest Protection Force, Soil Conservation and other allied departments.The Minister assured the people that this environmentally-hazardous material wouldn’t be allowed to enter the state through Lakhanpur.The Minister said Government is concerned over the ill-effects of polythene usage in the state and various steps have already been taken to address the issue."Police and Forest Protection Force in hill resorts will be given powers to check and take action to control polythene menace," he said.The Minister appealed people to start from their homes the mission to make Jammu and Kashmir a polythene-free state and adopt biodegradable options as a counter to polythene.
The Minister also called for complete segregation of garbage and their proper disposal.“Government is mulling to bring even more strict laws to deal with the polythene menace across the Sate,” Mr Singh said.Earlier speaking at a function, Clean Kashmir, Green Kashmir' campaign, organized by Victor Force, under the aegis of Chinar Corps, the Minister said that Government would make sure that plants reach to every household for commencing the massive plantation drive across the State. He urged the Gujjar and Bakarwal community to remain connected to their roots and work for the up-liftment of their areas.