Srinagar- To promote the vision of sustainable development and climate justice across Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory administration has taken several greening programs in the name of “Green Jammu & Kashmir Drive” to enhance the green cover and improve the quality of forests of the Union Territory.
According to a report by J&K forest department, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, the Govt under ambitious initiative ‘Har Gaon Hariyali’ has planted 90 lakh saplings during the current fiscal against the set target of plantation of 1.35 crore seedlings.
According to the report, Forest Survey of India’s latest report has revealed that the forest, meadows and tree cover of UT is around 54% of its geographical area which is substantially higher than the forest and tree cover of 24.56% at the country level and the national objective of 33%.
“However, as per the National Forest Policy, a mountainous State/UT should have 2/3rd of geographical area under Forest and Tree cover to ensure stability of fragile ecosystems,” the report notes.
An official from the first department told Kashmir Observer that in order to achieve the objective, the Government has initiated a dedicated greening program to improve the quality of forests across the UT.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Dr. Mohit Gera the initiative will continue in coming years as well and every district is being given the targets to achieve the same.
“During the fiscal year of 2019-2020, the target was 20 lakh. It increases every year. We are trying to achieve the set target of planting 1.35 crore seedlings in the current fiscal,” Gera told Kashmir Observer.
According to a report, the “Green J&K Drive” initiative of the UT Administration is in consonance with the National Forest Policy, 1988 and the Jammu & Kashmir Forest Policy, 2011, which envisages that afforestation will be carried out on all degraded and denuded lands in J&K within and outside forests with the involvement of stakeholders.
“Green J&K Drive” aims at creating a people’s movement at a massive scale with the involvement of all stakeholders, particularly village panchayats, women, tribal communities, students, Urban local bodies, institutions, NGOs and civil society,” the report said.
The government has involved different departments and planting agencies like Department of Higher Education, Agriculture, Horticulture, Medical Education, Irrigation & Flood Control, Rural Development, Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Industries & Commerce and PWD in the “Green J&K Drive” with large scale participation from Educational Institutions including Eco-Clubs of Schools and similar groups from Colleges.
The report further notes that the “Green J&K Drive: 2022-23” is planting 1.35 Cr. saplings, however the Government has advised the department to make efforts to achieve 1.50 Cr planting along with around 95 lakh low-cost planting interventions of greening like seed balls, patch sowing and dibbling of seeds.
It says that the assigned target is the highest in the history of tree planting in Jammu & Kashmir.
Green J&K drive also focuses on distribution of fast-growing Agroforestry tree species like Poplar, Eucalyptus, Willow, Robinia, Shisham, Siris, Melia along with other commercial varieties to farmers by the Forest Department, Department of Social Forestry and J&K FRI.
“Special emphasis under the scheme is being given on biodiversity conservation by rehabilitation and rejuvenation of habitat,” the report said.
The drive is being carried out through programs such as “One Beat Guard, One Village Program”, “Ped Lagayen Beti Ke Naam” under the campaign “Har Gaon Hariyali” with the involvement of stakeholders such as PRIs, Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs), Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs), Village Panchayats Plantation Committees (VPPCs), Tribal communities, Self-help Groups, Eco-clubs and several line Departments.
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