The Conservator of Forests (CoF) Kashmir, South Kashmir, Irfan Ali Shah today reviewed the functioning of Forest Department in Kulgam Forest Division (KFD) to take stock of preparations for implementation of various developmental works being executed during the current financial year in the district.
The CoF laid stress on making progress on approved deliverables for the Forest Department during the current year. He also stressed on conservation, management and development of water bodies under Mission Amrit Sarovar inside forests and directed for maintaining these water bodies for the benefit of people and forests.
Shah emphasized on institutionalizing and adapting of "Van se Jal aur Jal se Jeevan" concepts.DFO Kulgam was directed to prepare for ceremonial plantation drives to be carried out at the identified Amrit Sarovar sites on 15th August, 2022 involving all stakeholders including PRIs.
The deliverable under theme “Qabza Mukht Janglaat” was also discussed. CoF directed for taking immediate necessary steps for retrieval of all encroached forest land in Kulgam in a time bound manner and booking of encroachers under the provisions of Indian Forest Act.
The CoF also directed for identifying and development of new trekking routes for nature lovers and hikers. He further directed for identification of suitable sites for construction of new Forest Rest houses as well as development of Eco tenting facilities for local people as well as tourists and stressed on facilitating online bookings through awareness programs for promotion of sustainable Eco-tourism in the district.
He also directed organizing of Eco-Tourism festivals in collaboration with the District Administration for promoting sustainable Eco-Tourism activities in Kulgam.The CoF also reviewed Forest Protection in the district and directed Officers to maintain proper coordination to deal with the protection scenario especially in the remote areas of Kulgam to ensure zero tolerance towards illicit forest damages.
He also directed to book Forest damagers and encroachers under Public Safety Act irrespective of affiliations and no mercy be shown to forest encroachers and damagers.Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Green India Mission”, the CoF directed for Creation of Livelihoods through Self Help Groups and Women empowerment groups.
He advised for setting up Walnut peeling Units, Quince apple packaging Units for value addition on pilot basis at Range level for livelihood generation.DFO Kulgam was also directed to organize an outreach programme on creating livelihoods, in consultation with the District Administration and experts and officers from National Livelihoods Mission.
He said alternate fuel energy and livelihoods support kits shall be provided to forest fringe communities especially Tribal communities under this mission.He also directed for initiating Forest based livelihood support programme to address poverty related issues especially of Tribal and forest fringe communities.
The CoF directed Divisional Forest Officer Kulgam for expediting the process of scrutinizing both individual as well as Community claims under Forest Rights Act, 2006. He stressed on protection of rights and interests of Tribal Communities including Gujjar, Bakerwal and Chopan communities in Kulgam.
CoF also inspected as well as directed for development of Bird Park cum Interpretation Centre in main town Kulgam and also Theme based Environment Park in Arigutnoo Forest near Kulgam town which will be a first of its kind added tourist attraction cum Environment awareness centre for District Kulgam.
DFO Kulgam Syed Waseem Gull and all Range officers of District Kulgam attended the meeting.Later, the CoF met the District Development Commissioner, Kulgam, Bilal Mohi-ud-din.Organizing of the Eco-tourism festival, coordination with different agencies for forest protection, development of wood-based industries and claims under the Forest Rights Act were discussed threadbare.