The District Level Biodiversity Management Committee convened a meeting to deliberate on matters vital to biodiversity conservation today.Chaired by Chairman of the District Development Council, Dhananter Singh Kotwal, the meeting saw the participation of members, including Sangeeta Bhagat (Vice Chairperson of DDC Doda) besides Bipna Manhas, Jaya Rani Katoch, Sumit Kotwal and Forest Officers Ravinder Singh (DFO Doda) and Chander Shekhar (DFO Bhadarwah).
The central focus of the meeting revolved around the collection fees and levies imposed on Non-Timber Forest Produce in accordance with the Biodiversity Act of 2002. During the meeting, the committee engaged in a comprehensive discussion on the NTFP policy and underscored the importance of raising public awareness to promote the sustainable collection and utilisation of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and other bio resources.
To advance this objective, it was unanimously decided to organise an event in the Dessa area of Doda Forest Division, Bhadarwah and Bhalessa area of Bhadarwah Forest Division. This event will serve to disseminate knowledge and awareness of the NTFP policy among the broader population.
The meeting addressed two key issues. Firstly, the committee conducted a thorough examination of the provisions of the Biodiversity Act and its accompanying rules pertaining to the collection of minor forest produce. A commitment was made to adhere rigorously to the provisions of the act, ensuring transparency and efficiency in the collection process.
Secondly, the committee collectively resolved to approach the State Biodiversity Council to advocate for the inclusion of additional minor forest produce and cedar oil extraction within the purview of levy collection by the respective Biodiversity Management Committees of Panchayats. This proactive step is aimed at bolstering sustainability and conservation endeavours in the region.