Poonch city forests being developed as eco-tourism destination

Rs 2.58 cr revenue generated in West Circle Rajouri

JAMMU- The Minister for Forests and Environment, Mian Altaf Ahmed today said that the Poonch city forests would be developed as eco-tourism destination on society mode with a project cost of Rs 164.25 crore. 

Reviewing the overall functioning of the Poonch, Rajouri, Nowshera,   Reasi and  Mohare forest divisions, at a high level meeting, the minister said that department has already completed an eco tourism project at Dara Ki Gali which has started producing dividends.  

The Minister asked the forest functionaries to prepare Detailed Project Report within three months so that the creation of infrastructure could be started without disturbing the ecological system as necessary under eco-tourism promotion. He said the project would be executed under Society mode that provides for the involvement of the local populace as main stakeholders. 

 The eco-tourism project for the hill top overlooking the Poonch Township with dense forest cover envisages construction of eco-friendly tourist huts, walking path   and viewpoints.

The Minister asked the department functionaries to start the work on tourist hut and install solar lights for the illumination of the area. 

During the meeting, the construction of tourist building at Sharda Sharief also came under discussion. The Minister asked the officers to ensure that the upcoming building shall present an aesthetic look in consonance with the surrounding environment. He said that the building should have adequate boarding and lodging facilities for the tourist coming to the revered Sharda Sharief shrine.

The meeting was informed that a total of 4 lakh saplings have been planted in Jammu West Circle covering an  area of 865 ha during monsoon season under the flagship   CAMPA scheme . In addition to this, another 0.78 lakh sapling were planted over an area of 224 hectors under District and State sector as well the circle. It was also informed   that since a major part of the circle fall in sub-temperate zone, the   8 lakh saplings would also be planted  during the current winter season in the Circle. 

In order to meet the timber requirement of the people of the circle, a total of 37004 cft timber stands distributed amongst the consumers of Poonch, Rajouri Nowshera, Reasi and Mahore during last 6 months of the current year, while the department plans to provide another 50000 cft to the locals during the remaining period of the current year. Similarly, a total of 1962.91 quintals of firewood was supplied to the bonafide consumers during this period.

The meeting further informed that 4300 quintals of resin have been extracted during the current year in the circle by adopting Rill method out of which 2700 quintals was recently auctioned, which generated Rs. 2.35 crores   revenue for the State. In addition to this, 157.55 quintals of old resin existing in different depots was also disposed of in the said auction for approximately 22 lakh. Similarly, the revenue from other forest products like sale of timber and firewood, MFP, gazing fee etc. also generated an additional amount of Rs. 1.239 crore ending November in the same circle.  

Commissioner Secretary Forest, Mr. Aijaz Iqbal, Pincipal Chief Conservator, Forest Mr. Vinod Ranjan, Chief Wild Life Warden, Mr. A. K. Singh, Chief Conservator forest, Mr. Ravi Kesar, Conservator of Forest (CAMPA), Mr. L. K. Sharma, Conservator of Forest, Mr. R. S. Jasrotia and Conservator of Wild Life, Mr. Asif Mehmood and other Senior officers of the West Circle, Rajouri were present on the occasion. 


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