Intensify forest vigilance: Mian Altaf to officers

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32500 sft, 48 vehicles seized, cases against 574 offenders 

JAMMU: Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment, Mian Altaf Ahmad has urged upon the officers of Forest Protection Force (FPF) to intensify round the clock vigilance of forests and ensure safety of green gold besides checking any move of forest land encroachment. “Though timber smuggling activities have considerably been checked yet need is to remain more vigilant” said the minister, adding no let up should be given in protecting the forests.

The Minister was reviewing the measures taken by the department for protection of forests at an officers meeting here today.

Commissioner Secretary Forests, Sheikh Aijaz Iqbal, Director Forest Protection Force, Mohammad Shafiq Khan, Joint Director, FPF, Kashmir Mian Javed Ahmad and Joint Director, FPF, Jammu Mr. B. M. Sharma were present on the occasion.

Mian Altaf asked officers to make accountability more effective at all levels of the organization so that the purpose for which the department was created could be accrued in the best interest of the Government as well as the people.

The Minister said that efforts are on to modernize the forest protection force to make them more strong and effective while performing their professional assignment on ground level. He asked officers to come up with certain recommendations which on applying will improve the work environment in the department.

“Men and machinery are two important constituents of the activities of FPF” said the minister and instructed officers to speed up the filling process of vacant posts in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply. Emphasizing on proper inter departmental coordinated, the minister asked officers to fight jointly against those who are indulging illegal practices of timber smuggling and forest land encroachment.

Giving details, the Director FPF said that 13 Gamma units are being set up in Kashmir division at a cost of Rs.2.70 crore out of which seven units have been completed while work is apace on five units. In Jammu division, 8 such units have been completed and work on 2 units is in progress while Rs. 20 lakh are being spent on construction of GAMA unit at Reasi during current fiscal. He Minister directed officers to transfer the land identified for setting up of gamma unit at Kishtwar so that work on the project is started early.

Rs. 2 crore are being spent on construction of FPF headquarter at Srinagar for which 4 kanal land stands already acquired from SDA

It was given out that during last year, the department seized 32500 sft timber along with 48 vehicles and 45 horses from smugglers and registered cases against 574 offenders. During this year, the department seized 4 vehicles with 2500 sft timber and has registered cases against offenders in this regard, it was revealed.

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