Timber smuggling curbed to great extent: Altaf

Says Govt keen to promote eco-tourism

Jammu, Mar 22: The Minister for Forest and Environment Mian Altaf today said that forest smuggling in the State has been curbed to a great extent by strict implementation of relevant laws including PSA.
 Replying to  the debate on demands for grants for the forest and allied departments in Legislative Assembly today Altaf said forest smuggling dens in Shopian and Rafiabad area have been cleared from the timber smugglers.
 He said the process of timber supply has been streamlined all over the state due to which only needy people now get timber for their domestic use. He said State Forest Corporation (SFC) has distributed 49502 Cfts of timber among beneficiaries of Jammu and Srinagar during the current financial year, adding that 35.615 lakh Cfts of timber was auctioned during last 3 years fetching a revenue of over Rs. 205.69 crore.
 Altaf said in order to meet the requirement of people, seized timber pending in the department since long was also distributed among the needy. He said government has allowed import of timber and anybody can now take up timber trade by importing it from outside the state, adding that 43 lakh Cft of timber was imported this year in the state which has protected our forests and eased pressure on the department.
 The Minister said new forest depots were opened in various parts of the state for convenience of the people. He said Forest department has launched a massive afforestration programme and is ready to plant sapling at any vacant land identified by the legislators. He said the department is producing forest plants in its nurseries on large scale which are put on open sale at district level.
 Altaf said that Rs. 614 crore are being expended under CAMPA for expanding the green cover and soil conservation in the state in a phased manner, adding that 4785 hectares of forest land has been treated under it during the current fiscal besides fencing over 14.169 lakh Rft and planting 23.93 lakh plants on the barren land. He said 23229 soil conservation works and 2269 crates have been constructed under the programme during the current financial year. He said out of approved plan outlay of Rs. 7140 crore, about Rs. 45.88 crore have been expended under the programme during last 2 years.
 The Minister said pollution control board (PCB) has cancelled licenses of about 40 Brick kilns and seized quintals of polythene in various areas of the state to protect environment from the pollution.
 About promotion of Eco-tourism, the Minister said that Development of the Dera Ki Gali has been identified for Eco tourism Development for which a project report for costing Rs. 2.40 crore has been prepared and administratively approved. He said an eco tourism hut near peer ki gali on Mughal Road is being constructed at a cost of Rs 60 lakh to promotion eco-tourism in the area.
 About Asia’s largest lake, Wullar Lake, the Minister said that Wullar Conservation and Management Project have been initiated by constituting a committee in March 2011. Comprehensive management plan of Rs 386.39 crores for Wullar Lake (2007-11) was prepared by Wetlands International South Asia. Wullar project was sanctioned by Government of India under 13th Finance commission in October 2011.Total cost of project sanctioned is Rs 120 crores for four years from 2011-12 to 2014-15.Government of India has released Rs 30.00 crores for current financial year 2011-12. He said Cabinet memo is ready for constitution of Wullar Conservation and Management authority (WUCMA) under section 4 of the JK Development Act 1970.
 He said Survey and Demarcation of Wullar Lake and catchment area treatment work has been started. enumeration of plantation within lake of three compartment of Boniyari block stand completed for removal to enhance water holding capacity.
 The Minister said that the forest department has been very liberal to clear road projects under PMGSY in remote and in accessible areas including Doda, Poonch, Rajouri etc.
 Later, the house passed grants amounting to Rs 597.19 crore in favour of the Forests and allied department for the next financial year with voice vote.
 Earlier, as many as 15 members took part in the debate on the demands of grants which included Zulfikar Ali, Vikar Rasool, Kafil-ur-Rehman, Feroz Khan, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Ashok Kumar, A R Veeri, Harsh Dev Singh, Er Abdul Rashid, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Abdul Majid Wani, Abdul Haq Khan, B S Mankotia,  Lal Chand and Ch Suknandan. The members later withdrew their cut motions.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 22 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 22 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 23 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST

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