SRINAGAR: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved diversion of 663 Hectares of Forest land in various Forest Divisions of Jammu and Kashmir for undertaking developmental projects of urgent public importance in the road, power, drinking water, irrigation, education, railways, telecom, civil aviation and defense sectors.
The spokesman said that diversion of forest land was approved by SAC in pursuance to the recommendations of the 114th, 115th, 116th, 117th and 118th Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) Meetings held on 17.07.2019, 25.09.2019, 03.10.2019, 15.10.2019 and 21.10.2019 under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary. A total of 198 forest land diversion proposals involving 663 Ha of forest land had been cleared by the FAC, on the specified terms and conditions.
Work on these projects could not commence till date due to pending forest clearances. Following the SAC approval, works on all these projects shall be started which will lead to completion of various important infrastructural projects thereby benefitting a large number of people living in remote and far-flung areas of Jammu and Kashmir by providing them drinking water, road and mobile connectivity, electricity etc.
SAC directed the Forest Department to ensure bare minimum felling of trees, undertaking compensatory afforestation over alternate land in lieu of diversion of forest land besides closely monitoring the works being undertaken in the forest areas to ensure preservation of flora and fauna. SAC emphasized on the transplantation of saplings and poles to the degraded forest areas and monitoring their growth closely till they mature.
SAC further directed the PW(R&B) Department to ensure that the road projects under PMGSY are completed within the timelines so that the objectives of these projects are realized.