To take the first-hand appraisal of the Forest department and its allied wings, Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar today reviewed functioning of Forest department and the performance made for increasing the green wealth in the state. He also reviewed the activities undertaken by the Social Forestry Department.Commissioner Secretary, Forest Department Saurabh Bhagat, PCCF (Territorial), Manoj Panth, Chief Wild Warden, Ravi Kumar, Managing Director SFC, Suresh Chugh, CCF Kashmir S F A Gillani, HOD’s of allied departments besides other senior officers of the department attended the meeting.A detailed power point presentation was made by Commissioner Secretary including physical, financial achievements of the department and the initiatives undertaken to further increase the coverage of state land under forests.The meeting discussed in details the organizational set-up of the department along with the sanctioned and required staff strength. It also discussed region wise details of the forest area in the state. Commissioner Secretary Saurabh Bhagat informed the Advisor that to save the forest land from the encroachment, new kind of land demarcation is being done by installing boundary pillars. He also gave the details of seizure of forests produce made by the enforcement wing for the last few years.
The Advisor was apprised about the initiatives of the department including Mega Plantation Drive held in the last two years under which a total of around 84 lakh trees were planted by the department.The Advisor asked for the survival rate of trees planted under the drive and to take steps to ensure their survival.He was also informed about the steps taken to evict the encroached forest land, installation of boundary pillars for the demarcation of forest areas and drive to destroy Canabis plants wherever identified by the Forest and other related agencies including inputs from Narcotics department.Details of the forest land diverted for non forestry purposes were also given out in the meeting with the details of compensation received. The meeting was also told about the outstanding amount against the land diverted to the user agencies for carrying out various developmental works. The Advisor asked for taking up the issue with the concerned departments so that the amount can be taken accordingly and utilized for strengthening the department.Achievements made under State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) were also discussed in the meeting.There are 05 National Parks, 15 Wildlife Sancturies and 34 Conservation Reserves in the state, the meeting was told besides, important wildlife species of the state region wise also discussed.
Regarding the priority and thrust areas of the department, Commissioner Secretary informed the Advisor about the Jambu Zoo and Pahalgam Zoo projects. Financial and physical status of these projects were discussed in the meeting with the stress to monitor the pace of the works.While apprising the Advisor about the activities of Social Forestry Department, it was given out that the SFD is developing nurseries in the state and the saplings are being planted during plantation drives.It was given out that DFO Kathua has done a great job by planting trees along the National Highway from Lakhanpur to Samba which is being appreciated by all.The Advisor asked the Commissioner Secretary for rewarding the officer for his performance and also to encourage others to follow the same which would help in increasing the green cover along the highways."Whosoever is doing good work should be appreciated and his efforts should be rewarded by some commendation medal", the Advisor said.He also asked for involving youth by the way of community interface for overall improvement in adding more trees in the forest land of the state besides coordinated efforts in inter departments for better results.The meeting also discussed working of Forest Protection Force and J&K State Forest Corporation in detail.