SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today attended the celebrations of the International Day of Forests here at the Convention Centre.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha attends celebrations of International Day of Forests on March 21,2022

The event under the theme “Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption” aims to raise awareness on combating climate change, environmental conservation, efficient use of forests for prosperity and well-being of current and future generations.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor termed the initiative as a significant effort to raise awareness among people for the protection of invaluable forests and make them realize their responsibilities to save Forests.

The Lt Governor observed that Sustainable Forest Management and efficient use of its resources is the key to combating climate change and ensuring a prosperous ecosystem for future generations.

Reiterating the J&K government’s commitment towards ensuring ecologically sustainable development, the Lt Governor said that the biggest challenge today is to create a fine balance between man and nature. ‘The wisdom and the experience of local communities must be utilized to preserve our forests and natural habitats, he added.

Highlighting the important role of forests in climate change mitigation, the Lt Governor called for the involvement of PRIs, and other non-government institutions working at gross root level in forest protection and conservation efforts. This will prove to be an important step towards participatory governance in natural resource management, he remarked.

The Lt Governor further underlined that Forestry and Soil Conservation works should aim towards provision and augmentation of water in Kandi areas.

The ‘Green J&K Drive’; the ‘One Beat Guard, One Village’ initiative; ‘Har Gaon Hariyali’ campaign; besides promotion of eco-tourism through ‘Tourist Village’ network and thrust on development of viable wood-based industries are proving to be strong efforts to increase forest cover conservation, the Lt Governor observed.

The Lt Governor stressed that it is important to ensure the rights of traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in nature’s lap for generations are not infringed upon.

The historic implementation of the Forest Rights Act in the UT under the leadership of the respected Prime Minister has benefitted a large population of our tribal brothers dependent on forests.

The Lt Governor also stressed the need to modernize the Forest and Wildlife management system and involve the forest dwellers in the social movement for the conservation of the environment.

He further advised the Forest department to encourage and recognize the contribution of women in forestry and wildlife conservation.

‘A sapling should be planted in every village in the name of a newborn girl child to create awareness among the present and future generations about the rights of our daughters, and developing consciousness amongst the people about our natural heritage’, the Lt Governor added.

Earlier, the Lt Governor conferred UT level awards to front line staff of Forest and Wildlife Department for their outstanding contribution in protection of forests and wildlife, afforestation, and plantation works.

“I congratulate all the UT level awardees for their exceptional service in Forest and Wildlife Conservation. The Forest Department’s endeavors towards the growth of sustainable forest economy and support to stakeholders dependent on forests, creating livelihood opportunities, especially for women SHGs are also appreciable,” the Lt Governor said.

During the event, the Lt Governor released report on City Biodiversity Index of Jammu and Srinagar cities, Wildlife Atlas of J&K and launched an Android App “Haryali” developed by the Social Forestry Department to facilitate the plant distribution schemes of Social Forestry Department.

He lauded the efforts of the J&K Biodiversity Council for development of city Bio-diversity Index of Jammu and Srinagar smart cities.

Sanjeev Verma, Commissioner/Secretary to the Government, Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment highlighted the role of community participation in forest conservation. Involvement of people on a massive scale on convergence mode shall be attempted to dovetail the various opportunities and fund flow available in Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes, district sector and UT CAPEX.

Dr Mohit Gera, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), J&K Forest Department expressed his gratitude to the UT Government for instituting UT level Forestry and Wildlife Awards for recognizing outstanding contribution of frontline staff to promote forest and wildlife protection and conservation.

J&K Forest Department will achieve a very important milestone of planting 130 Lakhs of plants as earmarked for this year.

The activities initiated under ‘Har Gaon Hariyali’, ‘One Beat Guard and One village program’, forest protection through demarcation, digitization, and promotion of wood-based industries will be provided dedicated attention and result oriented programs such as “Van se Jal, Jal se Jeevan”, “Forests for livelihood” will also be scaled up, he added.

Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; S.K Gupta, Chief Wildlife Warden; Sarvesh Rai, Add. PCCF & CEO CAMPA J&K; HoDs, representatives from Panchayat Raj institutions, members of Biodiversity Management Committees, Self Help Groups and NGOs were present on the occasion.

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