AUGUST 26 : (SNN) The Conservator of Forests South Forest Circle Irfan Ali Shah, IFS, reviewed working of Forest Department in Lidder Forest Division in deliverance of Government work and the targets set for the current financial year.
During the day long review, the Conservator of Forests interacted at length with the Forest officers and Forest frontline staff, on various Deliverables, schemes and Government programs in forestry sector including Green J&K Drive, Har Gaon Hariyali, Forests for recreation, fodder, livelihood, development of eco-tourism etc and directed the forest officials for work with full dedication and commitment for conservation and protection of Forests, wildlife and biodiversity through the people-centric approach of the department.
The CoF informed that Lidder Forest Division is having planting target of about 3.00 lacs plants under all schemes including patch sowing, dibbles , Chinar Plantation. Besides, 0.60 lac seed balls will be prepared under Low Cost Greening programme to ensure enhanced green cover of Lidder Forest Divisions including the Pahalgam bowl, the famous tourist place. The CoF during the review directed the DFO Lidder and the Range Officers to ensure that the process of e-tendering of all approved works under CAMPA and CAPEX Budget must be completed within next 15 days with main thrust on installation of Boundary Pillars to secure the unfenced forest areas so as to avoid encroachment of forest land. The CoF informed that the Forest Boundary pillars Installation works of Lidder Forst Division will be completed by this year only and accordingly it will be first division to complete this work in J&K.
The CoF informed that NTFP Depots are being registered in Lidder Forest Division to check illegal practice of collection / disposal of NTFP in the Division and also night patrolling has been accelerated in the vulnerable places. He further informed that 113 Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) are existing in the Lidder Forest Division and directed the DFO to organize meetings of BMCs, identify collectors and to finalize levies as per ABS mechanism after taking NTFP traders in consultation mode.
The Conservator of Forests during the meeting laid stress on the Ecotourism initiatives in South Kashmir like development of Trek routes, opening of Forest Rest Houses, , Development of Nagar Vans, camping sites. The CoF said that different Forest Divisions of South Forest Circle have been organizing collaborative trekking programmes in collaboration with environment groups, NGOs, Civil Society groups, Adventure groups which has been a success and has united people in South Kashmir for pro-planet and pro-environment actions.
The target group for this new adventure will be the young and enthusiastic wildlife lovers from not only cross India but from foreign countries as well as these treks are well sought-after destinations for trekkers. According to the officials, all the new trekking routes pass through scenic splendours, with wild fauna and flora and the development of these trekking routes will provide gainful employment to the local population and tap the adventure/eco-tourism potential of these areas.
He said new trekking routes have been opened in Daksum, Dubjan, Hirpora, Sangerwani, Aru, Tral Wildlife Sanctuary, Khrew Wildlife Conservation Reserve. Khonmoh Conservation Reserve, and Khrew Wildlife Conservation Reserve. The average footfall of trekkers was 2.30 lac No’s during last one year on these Trek routes in South Kashmir.
He said that, in order to give further push to Eco-tourism, the Forest department has already put up a user-friendly online portal for bookings of these rest houses on a first-come, first-serve basis as per their availability and intake capacity. The move has already facilitated to allow tourists to visit areas which have so far remained out of bounds for ordinary citizens and tourists. Most of the rest houses and other accommodations are located in different forest divisions at the quaintest places amidst pristine landscapes.
The Conservator of Forests further informed that different camping sites have also been identified in different forest divisions of South Kashmir like in Kousarnag, Chirenbal, Badibehak, Kungwattan, Mir Hanjan, Sarbal Wasturwan, Baisaran Pahalgam, Tulyan , Dobjan and Gadder etc. Efforts are underway to set up seasonal eco-friendly tented accommodation for nature lovers and tourists in these places.
He informed that local educated youth from poor socio-economic backgrounds are being identified right now and they will be given training on adventure and Ecotourism activities at Jawahar Institute of Adventure sports, Pahalgam next month .They may then work as high end Ecotourism guides with local and foreign tourists. This will lead to their skill development and upgradation in Ecotourism and at the same time augmentation of their livelihoods.
The CoF also informed that 18 No of Nagar Vans and Eco-parks are being developed in all the Urban local bodies of South Kashmir by Forest Department. He said in Lidder Forest Division, already city forest area has been developed in Pahalgam for tourists and it’s further additional development is being done. He said one Nagar Van is under development in Srigufwara area of Dachnipora Block, Bijbehara which has been approved by Government of India and work for its development shall be taken up in the first week of September, 2023. The project provides wholesome natural environment for recreation, conservation education, biodiversity conservation and supported services like water and soil conservation, pollution abatement etc with the essential elements for regular use and to promote eco-tourism in the area.
The CoF informed that Honble LG of Jammu and Kashmir Mr Manoj Sinha last year launched 75 Home-Stays in Rural areas to commemorate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in partnership with JLRLM and OYO Group under project ‘Crown of Incredible India’. The launch of Tourist Village Network, in which Mission Youth has selected 75 such villages under both the Jammu, and Kashmir divisions, known for their unique landscape, cultural diversity and heritage value will go a long way in expanding the tourism ecosystem to rural areas of UT, and will compliment Ecotourism initiatives of the Forest Department.
The CoF expressed satisfaction upon quality of various development and demarcation works including installation of Boundary Pillars, raising of plantation units, Nursery works and benefit flows to people in Lidder Forest Division in District Anantnag . He also congratulated Forest Officers of Lidder Forest Division who were recently awarded on Independence Day for their meritorious public services. He also thanked the Deputy Commissioner Anantnag for his support to the various initiatives of the Forest Department in District Anantnag.
During the review, Dr. Mehraj Ahmad Sheikh, DFO Lidder, Mr Faizan Anwar, Range Officer Mattan, Mr. Peerzada Masood Ahmad Range Officer Pahalgam, Mr. Shabir Ahmad Khawaja I/c Range Officer Forest Control Room, Mr Tariq Ahmad Circle office and other officials and forest frontline staff were present.(SNN)
(This News Item is not edited by SNN NEWS Desk)