Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said the UT administration is committed to fully implement the Forest Rights Act at the earliest to safeguard the interests of the communities dependent on forests.
Sinha was addressing a function after inaugurating the new boys hostel of the Faculty of Forestry but at an expenditure of Rs 5.30 crore.
He also laid foundation stones for a mini-watershed project worth around Rs 10 crore, a hostel for trainees at Rs 3.80 crore and an academic block costing Rs 8 crore at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Kashmir campus in Ganderbal district.
The LG also felicitated 10 winners of the 'Champion Farmer Award' and handed over cheques of Rs 5,000 to each of them.
Speaking on the government's endeavours to safeguard the rights and interests of the communities dependent on forests, LG Sinha said the UT government is committed to fully implement the Forest Rights Act at the earliest.
"The administration is working to ensure their rights. We are reaching out to the communities and stakeholders dependent on forests by opening up more opportunities for their livelihood generation," he said.
The L-G said the goal of rapid development of villages, forest dwellers, and farming communities can only be achieved by protecting forest resources and integrating forest products into the new investment policy.
"J-K is blessed with immense forest wealth which needs to be protected. Our scientists, senior officials, youth, and other stakeholders must engage themselves in rejuvenation of agro-forest resources, he said.
Sinha asked officials to ensure that action is taken against those who have occupied large plots of forest land rather than targeting only the poor.
The interest of the poor people who have been living in the forests for generations must be safeguarded, he added.
The LG said the progressive and future-oriented approach of the government has brought about visible changes in the agro-forestry situation in J-K, leading to improved productivity, profitability and employability in the sector.
He appreciated the collective efforts put in by the vice chancellor, SKUAST-K, and his team for producing human resources in agriculture and allied disciplines, developing technologies for solving farmer's problems in agriculture and allied sciences, besides taking the lab innovations to the field in a bid to substantially increase farmers' income.
The LG also underlined a host of innovative measures taken by the UT government for branding, marketing, and transportation of local agro-forestry products.
The central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving focused attention towards the development and progress of agriculture and allied sectors in the UT, he said.
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