The “Poplar Commission” recently constituted by the government held its maiden meeting here under the chairmanship of Principal Chief Conservator Forests (HoFF), Dr. Mohit Gera.Pertinently, the Commission has been constituted to advise on introduction, cultivation, utilization and regulation of poplars as well as formulation of policy on Poplar cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir. The first of its kind in the country, the Commission is being chaired by PCCF and Head of Forest Force with members and experts from Forest Department, Social Forestry Department, SKUAST and allied fields including representatives from Wood Based Industry, poplar growing farmers and nursery growers.Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mohit Gera informed that as the Poplar cultivation is well suited to the climate and ecology of Jammu and Kashmir, there is a huge potential of increasing the scale of its planting and utilization. He informed about the import of wood to the tune of Rs. 500 crore in J&K saying that promotion of Wood Based Industry can substitute for this import as well as value added products could be made for export from J&K. This will create employment opportunities and enhance the GDP of the UT, he added.He said that growing of wood and making of wood-based products is being promoted all across the world as wood is seen as carbon neutral and environmentally friendly option compared to other materials like steel and cement. J&K is blessed with abundant resources and scope to promote more production of wood as well use of more wood for sustainable development, he added.
The Commission focused on important issues on improving the quality of planting stock of Poplar, cultivation techniques, improving new fast-growing varieties, varied requirement of the industry as well as the problems being faced by the farmers, nursery growers in cultivation as well as issues on marketing of Polar wood.Meanwhile, different committees were constituted to recommend plan of action on introduction, cultivation, and utilization of Poplar by the Commission. The important issue of regulation of nurseries and production of only male poplar clones was also discussed and roadmap was drawn in this regard.The Commission was unanimous on the need for creation of mass awareness for all the stakeholders especially the farmers and nursery growers on latest fast-growing varieties and cultivation and management techniques of growing poplars so that quality wood is produced in minimum time for better returns.The meeting was attended by Roshan Jaggi, Director of Social Forestry, Dr Tariq Masoodi, Dean Forestry, SKUAST, Kashmir, Ramesh Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests, Jammu, Maraj -Ud -din Malik, Regional Director Social Forestry, Kashmir. Dr Harpreet Kour, Special Secretary (Technical), Forest, Ecology & Environment Department, Dr. Tariq representing Director, Forest Research Institute, J&K, Dr Samant, Director, Himalayan Forest Research Institute, Shimla Dr. R.C. Dhiman, Expert besides General Secretary, South Kashmir Wood Supplies Union, President, Pencil Slats/ Block Manufacturing Association, Kashmir, Aasifa Padroo, Additional Advocate General, J&K High Court, Srinagar (Legal Expert), Nadeem Qadri, NGO, Environment Lawyer, representatives from Nursery Growers Associated with cultivation/production of Poplar (representing South and North Kashmir).