Kashmir: J&K Tribals Waiting For Years Given Forest Rights – LG Sinha

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

Srinagar- Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha said that a large population of tribal families dependent on forests in the Union Territory have been granted their forest rights for which they have been waiting for years.

Sinha also asked the Tribal Affairs Department and the district administrations to work in mission mode for granting individual rights under the Forest Rights Act and establishment of Van Dhan Kendras.

Addressing the International Day of Forests event organized by Department of Forest, Ecology & Environment at Convention Centre here on Tuesday, the LG called upon the people for sustainable management of forests and the judicious use of resources to combat climate change and to ensure well-being of all.

“Healthy Forests is the key to Healthy living of people and it should be our topmost priority to safeguard these precious natural resources. Every element produced by nature nourishes us. Since time immemorial, the health & well-being of humans, animals & environment around us are interlinked,” he said.

The LG also emphasized on striking a perfect balance between society and environment for a healthy ecosystem and a strong economy.

“Nature is a great source of wisdom. The more we learn from nature, the more we understand that forests are not only an integral part of our existence but also essential for our mental, physical health and well-being. A society that is closer to nature is more prosperous,” he said.

“On this International Day of Forests, let us rededicate ourselves to protect nature and conserve forests with the spirit of “One World, One Health”. We must protect and nurture economic, social and environmental values for the benefit of present and future generations,” he added.

The LG directed the J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission to launch Van Sakhi Yojana in coordination with the Forest Department for the socio-economic empowerment of the women entrepreneurs associated with the sector.

He asked the Forests Department and other stakeholders to ensure that policy on ‘Sustainable Utilization of Non-timber Forest Produce in J&K’ is fully operationalized on ground to maximize its benefits to the people, especially women and tribal communities.

The LG further emphasized on promoting high-value forest produce like Gucci mushroom and Artemisia herbal plant which can be found in abundance in the forests of Jammu Kashmir to bring significant improvement in the quality of life of the forest-dependent population without harming the forests.

He also highlighted the efforts made in the last two years for protection of natural resources and for extending economic benefits, livelihood and entrepreneurship opportunities to tribal families.

He complimented the Forest Department and allied wings for achieving higher targets under “One Beat Guard, One Village” programme under the campaign “Har Gaon Hariyali” and for their forest conservation awareness efforts.

“With more than 55% green cover, Jammu Kashmir is ahead of many other states and UTs,” Sinha said, adding that the 2.5 billion population of the world is dependent on forests in one way or the other.

“From our ancient texts to the latest and greatest invention of Artificial Intelligence Tool, you can find one thing in common i.e the entire universe is made of the five elements (Panch Tatva),” the LG said.

“We must move ahead with the mantra of Panch Karma – the five major goals for the next one year. Non-Timber Forest Produce scheme must encourage associated Self-help Groups and communities to work on conservation of forests and plantation,” he added.

He also called for ensuring forest-related education in schools and participation of students in plantation drives.

“Van Dhan Kendras and Self-help Groups should be involved in branding and marketing of forest-friendly products,” he added.

The LG said that the inclusion of Panchayati Raj Institutions in Van Se Jal and Jal Se Jeevan program will make a greater impact in our campaign for conservation of natural resources.

“Further, we have to make the re-forestation campaign a mass movement,” he added.

On the occasion, the LG presented the UT-Level Awards of Forestry & Wildlife Conservation to the frontline staff of the Forest and Wildlife Department for their outstanding contribution. He also felicitated the Village Panchayats for their efforts in the greening of common village lands.

Suggests Selfie Points In SSC Project

Manoj Sinha meanwhile instructed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Srinagar Smart City to explore possibilities for developing selfie points at some prominent locations under the project

Sinha passed these directions while conducting on-site inspection and reviewing ongoing work of Jhelum Riverfront here on Tuesday. He ascertained the progress of the work being carried out at the site, and laid emphasis on the timely completion of the project.

Commissioner SMC and CEO Srinagar Smart City, Athar Amir Khan briefed the LG on the progress made on the prestigious project. He informed that the ongoing work on the Left Bank of the river from Zero Bridge to Lal Mandi shall be completed by April, 2023.

The LG was informed that the work on the stretch between Zero Bridge to GPO is also going on in full swing and shall be completed by April 2023 while the major works on the riverfront project will be completed by or before August 2023, it was informed.

On the ongoing development projects in Kashmir and revival of Kashmir’s heritage Jhelum River and river transport, the LG said the work is going on as per the timelines.

Pertinently, the Jhelum riverfront from Zero Bridge to Budshah Kadal is envisaged with the state of art public places along the Riverfront. Both the right and left banks of the Jhelum riverfront are being upgraded.

The development of pedestrian walkways, cycle track, multi-purpose green spaces and parks, Seating space, barrier-free environment, universal accessibility, improved connectivity to popular market streets, high-quality lighting, ornamental plant species, and modern public utilities will make the Jhelum riverfront a prominent destination for tourists and locals.

LG’s Principal Secretary Dr Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Vijay Kumar Bidhuri and other senior officers accompanied Sinha.__Kashmir Observer