Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology, Rajiv Jasrotia today called for streamlining collective efforts to preserve the rich biodiversity of the State.The Minister was speaking at a function to mark International Day for Biological Diversity at Govt. Degree College Kathua. The function was organized by J&K State Bio-Diversity Board.The Minister who was the chief guest on the occasion said that the State is gifted with natural beauty and our responsibility is to work collectively for its preservation. He said the first thing is to make people aware of the importance of forests and biodiversity in our life followed by their practical participation in its conservation.Highlighting this year`s Biodiversity Celebration theme: ‘Celebrating 25 years of action for Biodiversity ‘, Rajiv Jasrotia said that the day is designed to promote the conservation of biodiversity and to ensure the sustainable use and equitable sharing of genetic resources. “Our biodiversity is very important for the well-being of our planet. And the celebration of this day seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services with the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including scientists, experts, indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community,” said the Minister.Terming students as the catalyst of bringing change, Jasrotia said that they can spread the message of environment conservation effectively and it further underlines the responsibility of the Forest department in engaging students in conservation efforts.Underlining the need for expanding the ambit of the activities of State Diversity Board, the Minister asked the Members of the Board to work wholeheartedly so that the purpose for which it was constituted is fulfilled. He said that role of PCB needs to be redefined and furthermore overall reforms are needed in Forest department to cater the emerging needs of the hour. The Minister further called for sustainable development of forests including strengthening of State Forest Corporation (SFC), Pollution Control Board (PCB), Soil and Water Conservation Department, State Forest Research Institute (SFRI), Forest Protection Force (FPF) and Social Forestry to achieve growth and progress of huge natural resources of the state.DC Kathua, Rohit Khajuria also highlighted the significance of celebrating Biodiversity day and asserted that these celebrations should not become symbolic but a routine affair to create mass awareness among all the stakeholders regarding environment conservation and afforestation.Earlier, the Minister inspected the stalls established by various wings of Forest department highlighting rare Flora-Fauna of J&K. Information broachers/posters highlighting cross-LoC trade of important wild Flora-Fauna and rare species of wild animals in J&K was also unveiled during the celebration.Later, prizes were also distributed among the students who participated in the symposium and painting competition held by the Forest department to mark the Bio-diversity celebration.The function was attended by PCCF Manoj Pant, Chief Wildlife Warden Ravi Kesar, MD State Forest Corporation Suresh Chug, Chairman PCB, V. Sidharth, Director Soil and Water Conservation PK Singh, Director Social Forestry AK Gupta, Director SFRI BM Sharma along with Conservators, DFOs, senior officers of the department and students in large numbers were present during the celebration.