“Green Jammu & Kashmir Drive” kicked

wilayattimes (Jammu and Kashmir)

Srinagar | WTNS |  July 29:Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Thursday launched the “Green Jammu & Kashmir Drive” here from AIIMS Vijaypur. The target for the current year is planting of 1.5 cr saplings.

To mark the day, the Lt Governor felicitated Village Panchayat Plantation Committees for outstanding performance in plantation drives in their respective panchayats. Notified Jammu and Kashmir Social Forestry (Plantation) Rules-2022 were also unveiled on the occasion.

The Lt Governor reiterated the J&K government’s commitment towards sustainable management of rich natural wealth to combat climate change and ensure a better future for younger generations.

“Protection & conservation of natural resources and striking a perfect balance between nature & development is our top most priority”, said the Lt Governor.

Highlighting the role of community participation in ecologically sustainable development, the Lt Governor asked the PRIs and Civil Society to play effective role as Partners of Green Mission.

Two R’s – Respect and Restore the delicate balance in nature is the way forward for a Green Future. Citizens must take the lead in the ecological movement for regeneration, said the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor underscored the reforms introduced by the UT government in the last two years aimed at reducing the impact of climate change and overcoming the challenges of fragile ecosystem.

Jammu and Kashmir is blessed with nature’s rich resources, with 54% of the area under green cover.  A large population of J&K UT is dependent on forests for their livelihood. Dedicated efforts are being made to safeguard their interest, besides bringing behavior change in the lifestyle of people making conservation of nature a part of their everyday life, he added.

Terming forests as the mainstay of  priority sectors of J&K’s economy including Agriculture, Horticulture, Tourism, Power Generation, Wood Industry and Animal Husbandry, the Lt Governor shared the government’s vision to bring two-third area of the UT under forest & tree cover and make the protection of natural resources an integral part of J&K’s development model.

J&K Social Forestry Plantation Rules is another great example of devolution of funds, functions to panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, empowering all 4290 Village Panchayat Plantation Committees of the UT, said the Lt Governor.

These rules envisage the active participation of Village Panchayat Plantation Committees (VPPCs) at the level of Gram Panchayats to take up works of afforestation & their protection, equitable distribution of plantation-based benefits and management of Gram Panchayat Fund by realizing 75% share from the proceeds of mature plantations, it was informed.

Citing a report of the central government, the Lt Governor noted that the per capita value of forest produce in J&K is the highest in the country which comes to Rs. 25 as compared to Rs. 3.72 for Madhya Pradesh, Rs. 2.48 for Kerala and Rs. 1.69 for Maharashtra. Our per capita wood consumption is also higher than other states and import of wood worth Rs 500-600 crore is being done every year, the Lt Governor added.

The Lt Governor underlined the need for integrating the development process with the environment protection campaigns.

As J&K is witnessing a new era of industrial development, Forests and Industries Departments are coming together to plant 1.5 lakh trees of different varieties around the Industrial Parks, Industrial Clusters which should be a regular activity, he informed.

The Lt Governor called for active participation of the people, PRIs, Village Plantation Committees, school children in environment conservation efforts and urged the citizens to follow the Green Protocol voluntarily by using biodegradable products only at the weddings.

The Lt Governor also advised the Forest Department and the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Board to introduce “Best out of Waste” in the home work tasks for creating awareness about environmental protection among the children.

He further called for running a campaign against the use of plastic and reaching out to the maximum population to make them aware about the importance of environment protection & conservation.

The Lt Governor appreciated the Forest department and all the stakeholders for planting about 2 crore 38 lakh new saplings in the last two years and making a significant contribution in increasing the UT’s green cover. He further commended the Panchayat Village Plantation Committees for their active participation in Natural Resource Management.

Speaking on the occasion, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Member Parliament congratulated the UT Administration for achieving visible results in increasing the green cover of the UT. He also appreciated the efforts of the forest department in making Green Jammu and Kashmir drive a mass movement.

Keshav Dutt Sharma, DDC Chairperson Samba, urged the general public to come forward and play their important role in environment protection as it is the only solution to tackle climate change.

Dr. Mohit Gera, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), in his welcome address threw light on the significance of the Green J&K Drive, and also urged the people to plant a tree & contribute in making the environment green and clean.

Prof YK Gupta, President AIIMS Jammu thanked the Lt Governor for choosing AIIMS for the launching of Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive.

Roshan Jaggi, Director Social Forestry concluded the program with vote of thanks.

On the occasion, the Lt Governor e-inaugurated a double storey office building of Conservator of Forest, North Circle in Sopore, besides releasing a documentary and a publication on Green J&K Drive and Jan-Bhagidari – one year of working in partnership with Village Panchayat Plantation Committee. A tree sapling was also planted by the Lt Governor in the premises of AIIMS.

Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Anuradha Gupta, Deputy Commissioner Samba along with senior officials from the concerned departments and people from all walks of life were present during the launch of the Green J&K drive.