Mufti at Baltal, Vows to Protect Environmental

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Launches afforestation drive by planting deodar sapling 

BALTAL – Reiterating his commitment to frame a new Forest Policy that will primarily focus on environmental conservation, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today described stemming the loss of biodiversity as one of the biggest challenges for the Government.

He said time has come to rethink our relationship with environment by looking for practical ways in harmonizing human activities with what the environment can sustain over the long run.

The Chief Minister said this after planting deodar sapling under Sabzar-wa-Shafaf, an afforestation drive launched by 15 Corps, here today.

With active support of children and local population, nearly 1300 deodars and 700 kail saplings will be planted to rejuvenate the forests under the plantation drive at Baltal.

Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Altaf Bukhari, GoC, 15 Corps, Lt. Gen. Subrata Saha, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas and Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, Showkat Ejaz, were present on the occasion.

Stressing upon people’s participation in maintaining ecological balance, Mufti Sayeed directed the Forest Department to undertake reforestation drives on denuded forest lands in other parts of the State. “There is also an urgent need to make people cognizant about the significance of forests and protecting our rich biodiversity,” he stated, while indicating that the new Forest Policy will accord highest priority to environmental conservation.

The Chief Minister also emphasized upon the Forest Department to undertake awareness campaigns about ecological conservation so that we are able to save our treasures of nature for posterity.

Stating that tourism, which remains a vital sector driving our economy, will remain subservient to environment, the Chief Minister laid emphasis upon the need to use scientific technologies in proper waste and sewage disposal.

Under Sabzar-wa-Shafaf, plantation drives have been undertaken at Lolab (Kupwara), Ganderbal, Bandipora and Baltal to achieve a target of planting 5,000 new saplings this season.

Later, the Chief Minister also visited the Baltal Base Camp where he reviewed the arrangements made for the upcoming Shri Amarnathji Yatra.

While briefing the Chief Minister, CEO, SASB, P. K. Tripathi informed that all basic arrangements, in particular relating to health and accommodation, for the yatris have been made at Baltal and Chandanwari base camps. He said the yatra tracks from both Baltal and Pahalgam sides to the Holy Cave are clear for the annual pilgrimage to begin on July 2, next month.

Special NDRF, SDRF and Mountain & Avalanche Rescue Teams are in place to meet any emergencies. A fully-equipped 40-bedded hospital has also been established at the Base Camp to cater to the healthcare needs of the pilgrims. Special arrangements have also been made for telecommunications and weather forecasting for the pilgrims during the yatra.

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