Zahoor for comprehensive eco-tourism policy in JK

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SRINAGAR: Minister of State for Forest, Environment, Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Cooperative and Fisheries, Mir Zahoor Ahmad, Saturday underscored the need for formulating a comprehensive eco-tourism policy in the State.

The Minister was speaking at a meeting convened to review the functioning of the Department of Forest Protection Force (FPF). He said the policy will not only help increase the revenue but also create employment opportunities for the educated unemployed youth of the State. He called for eco-tourism boards to be established under the said policy in order that tourists visiting the State get the necessary platform.

Mir Zahoor directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) to create an online system for bookings for eco-tourism huts and also having a centralized control at Forest Head Quarters at Srinagar and Jammu.

Taking stock of the budgetary allocation for the FPF, the Minister directed for additionality under the CAPEX budget.

The meeting also held detailed discussions on the sanctioned strength of staff in the Forest and allied departments. It was given out that there are more than 3000 vacancies of different categories both in direct and promotion quotas, which include 500 posts each in the Forest and FPF departments.

The Minister directed the concerned to refer all vacancies of different levels to the recruiting agencies Service Selection Recruitment Board (SSRB) and Public Service Commission (PSC) for selection of candidates on fast-track basis. He also asked the concerned to speed up the disposal of all pending court cases so that promotion avenues are created at all levels in the FPF.

While taking stock of functioning of Reporting Centres, the Minister was informed that, presently, there are 23 Reporting Centres functional in the FPF. He instructed the concerned for immediate establishment of Reporting Centre at Khrew Shaar.

Discussing the establishment of Gamma Units, the Minister directed the FPF to come up with a five-year plan proposal for upgradation of Gamma Units and prioritizing of developmental works under the scheme and submit the same to concerned quarters for necessary sanctions. Besides a proposal for construction of boundary wall for the Gamma Unit at Kulgam, the Minister also asked the Department to submit a proposal for establishment of a Gamma Unit at Karzinag area in Awantipora so that the required funds could be arranged.

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