A meeting of the Committee on Estimates (EC) of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly was held today under the Chairmanship of MLA, Mohammad Ashraf Mir to discuss the functioning of Forest Department and State Forest Corporation (SFC).Threadbare discussions were held on various issues including CAMPA works, extraction of timber, conservation measures and easing pressure on the forest areas.Legislators, Mohammad Hakeem Yaseen, Vikar Rasool Wani, Abdul Majid Padder, R S Pathania and Dr Shehnaz Ganai attended the meeting and gave their valuable suggestions to improve the functioning of the Forest and its allied wings.The meeting took stock of firewood provided to the mosques and temples and the Committee members asked the department to provide the same to needy people, especially those living in hilly area also.Detailed discussions were also held on revenue generated on the supply and sale of timber to the consumers of the State. The panel asked the concerned to achieve the fixed target of supply of timber in full and distribute it judiciously.About CAMPA works, it was informed that various developmental works for preservation, conservation and protection of forests are apace in the State under the programme. The Committee asked the concerned to utilize the CAMPA funds judiciously.
The Committee directed the Forest department to launch a massive plantation drive in the surrounding areas of stone crushers functional in the State to save the environment. The members also asked the department to enhance vigil to check felling and plug timber smuggling.The Chairman of the Committee directed the forest department to ensure protection of the forest wealth and deal strictly against forest encroachments.The panel also sought detailed information about the works carried out by the Department under Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWDP) in Ramnagar and Ramkot areas.Commissioner Secretary, Forest Mohammad Afzal and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Ravi Kumar Kesar briefed the meeting about the activities of the forest department in detail and assured the Committee that the directions given by it will be implemented on priority.Among others the meeting was attended by Chief Warden Wild Life, J&K Manoj Pandit, APCCF, Dr. Mohit Giri, CCF S&D N P Singh, CCF Vasu Yadav, Director, Director Environment and Ecology, Director, Social Forestry Ashwani Gupta, Director SFR, B M Sharma, SO Forest Department, Mohammad Ismail Wani, besides Special Secretary Assembly, R L Sharma and other senior officers of Forest Department, SFC and Assembly Secretariat.