Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar today asked the J&K State Forest Corporation to adopt IT enabled services to bring more transparency in the working of the corporation besides engaging required machinery to further slash down the cost of timber extraction. He also stressed for community involvement that would help in developing and conservation of the forests in the state.The Advisor while reviewing the functioning of the J&K State Forest Corporation said that with the effective internal and external vigilance, the Corporation can be strengthened and more transparent services needs to be introduced for achieving the desired results.Commissioner Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Saurabh Bhagat, MD JKSFC Suresh Chugh, Director Finance Forests and other senior officers of JKSFC and Forests Department attended the meeting.Reviewing the performance of the corporation, the Advisor was enquired about the details of timber extraction done by the Corporation in the recent years and the revenue realized by selling the timber to the consumers. It was informed that during 2016-17, 27.09 lakh cft of timber was sold through auction and 41.62 lakh cft was sold in the current year till now.The meeting was informed that the steep increase in the inflow of imported timber has reached to 61.47 lakh cft in 2017-18 in the market which has serious impact on the overall sale of timber by SFC.
MD JKSFC Suresh Chugh while apprising the meeting about the mode of sale of timber by the corporation informed the Advisor that the sale is made to the consumers through open auction, fair price depots in Municipal areas of Srinagar & Jammu, fair price depots in Ladakh and by concessional timber sale depots.After having deliberate discussions on the no of depots in the state and the rates on which the timber is being sold to the consumers on concessional rates, the Advisor asked for rationalization of timber rates and to come up with a report on it within a weeks’ time.Informing the Advisor about the financial performance of the corporation, it was told that in the year 2016-17, JKSFC has realized the revenue to the tune of Rs 13.98 crore and Rs 19.14 crore in 2017-18 against the sale of 27.09 and 41.62 lakh cft of timber in the state.The meeting was apprised of various elements of timber extraction followed by transportation. In order to achieve better results and bring down the extraction cost, the Advisor suggested for using required machinery for extraction and transportation purpose. To have a check on pilferage, he asked for using IT enables services with the help of some reputed IT consultants including using GPS tracking devices.
With regard to the steps taken by the corporation in developing the forests, the Advisor stressed for utilizing the services of expert people within or outside the state. He asked for looking out the experts on forests doing research on forests in the state and to get inputs to further move in the direction of conserving our green wealth.Giving out the details of the important achievements of the corporation, MD JKSFC listed out the initiatives taken during the last two years to strengthen the corporation including making timber distribution hassle free, taking payment through bank drafts instead of cash for timber distribution, clearance of accumulated liabilities, shifting of tendering work to e-tendering, Rs 2 crore provided to Forest department for Forest Development & Protection Project etc.Regarding social commitments, it was informed that the corporation is providing timber on concessional rates to the sufferers of natural calamities.During the meeting, various issues and concerns of SFC including issues of the employees were put forth and discussed in detail.The Advisor assured the officers that all possible support would be provided by the government. He enjoined upon the management to re-double their efforts towards making the Corporation more profitable and asked for initiating the activities for generating additional revenue to improve the financial health and meet the own financial requirement.He directed for taking all requisite steps for streamlining the system to ensure hassle free distribution of timber to the consumers besides bringing vibrancy and accuracy in the delivery system.