Commissioner Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Sanjeev Verma, today reviewed functioning of Forest department in South Kashmir.Briefing about activities being carried out by the department, Conservator of Forests, South Kashmir, Irfan Ali Shah, informed that Social Forestry division will be planting 1.93 lakh saplings during the current fiscal. In addition, 25000 trees are being planted by Lidder division. He said that the department has distributed 2.05 lakh plants through various awareness cum distribution camps organized in the district to promote self plantation by people in their vicinities.Irfan Ali presented details about various plantations carried out in convergence with MGNREGA in which a total of 3.5 lakh person days were generated in the previous fiscal and the target for the current fiscal has been set at 5.2 lakh person days.
Besides, 1094 work proposals have been approved for regeneration of water bodies which included check dams, digging of pits, water harvesting reservoirs. He informed that South Circle planted 16.73 lakh saplings during last fiscal including free distribution of poplars, Salix mawas among the public.Sanjeev Verma had thorough discussion regarding incidents of forest fires reported from the South Circle. He asked the officers to ensure that deep enquiry is conducted in all such fire incidents and the culprit is brought into books as per law.Commissioner Secretary, while interacting with the officials, stressed on initiating mitigation measures to reduce the impact of climate change. He emphasized the need of further intensifying plantation activities in a mission mode with active participation of people and PRIs and other grassroot level institutions. He said that the department should also focus on enhancing nursery production capacities by developing more nurseries to meet out future challenges of greening and rehabilitation of degraded forests especially on southern slopes.
Sanjeev Verma also stressed on driving behavioral change and increasing public participation in conservation of the environment. He said that programmes like plantation of a sapling when a girl child is born should be promoted. He appreciated the work done by South Circle under flagship Green J&K drive and mobilizing public support for government initiatives in forestry sector.ADC Gulzar Ahmad, ACD Riyaz Ahmad, DFOs of Lidder, Anantnag division and Social Forestry besides Wildlife Warden South Kashmir were present on the occasion.Later, Commissioner Secretary inspected forests of Lidder Forest division including Mattan and Pahalgam Forests. He also planted saplings at Pahalgam under the banner of "One Tourist One Plant Program" in presence of tourists and nature lovers from different parts of the country.He also reviewed the Yatra arrangements at Nunwan Yatra Base camp where he directed for preparing tent camp sites. He also directed the DFO Lidder for dumping firewood for the Yatra.