Recent windstorm ravaged forests
Bandipora, Shopian Divisions Worst Affected; Govt Starts Survey
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, May 26: In the wake of extensive damage to forests in Kashmir due to recent devastating windstorm, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has started a survey to assess loss of the green gold.
Known for their prized conifer trees, the only thing visible in forests of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district is massive destruction due to the windstorm which swept across the Valley.
Officials said that Bandipora is among the worst affected forest divisions of Kashmir where lakhs of Kail and Fir trees have been damaged.
With the opening of Bandipora-Gurez road after five months, the massive destruction of forests along the stretch has come to fore. All along the route till Razdan Pass, half way to the Gurez Valley, thousands of Kail and Fir trees have either been broken or uprooted. At Chandaji falling in Compartment no. 81, only stumps of these trees are visible.
“The windstorm was so powerful that these mighty trees were ripped apart and fell like match sticks,” said an official of the Forest Department while assessing damage to the compartment.
“The destruction to forests in Bandipora is so massive that it is difficult to fully assess it,” he said while pointing towards a denuded patch of land. “Before windstorm, this patch used to be part of forests. But the winds took its trees along,” he said.
With timber worth crores of rupees lying scattered in forests, experts maintain that it will be a Herculean task to protect and dispose it off.
“Some affected forests areas are inaccessible due to tough terrain. Windstorm mostly affected the trees in high altitude areas. At many places, it is difficult to transport the felled trees. The Forest Department should conduct the assessment through remote sensing devices and involve locals in extracting the felled timber from the forests,” an official said.
The windstorm which blew at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour swept across the Valley from March 20 to 22, killing five persons and injuring hundreds of people. Over 12,000 houses and scores of houseboats were also damaged due to the storm.
The Minister for Forests and Environment, Mian Altaf acknowledged massive damage to forests in Kashmir due to the windstorm.
“Forests across the Valley have been damaged due to the windstorm. We have started a comprehensive survey to assess the extent of damage due to this natural calamity. Though we can’t compensate loss of such a large number of trees, we will speed up our afforestation drive across the Valley,” Altaf told Greater Kashmir.
Altaf said after assessment, the felled timber logs will be given to the State Forest Corporation for subsequent sale to people.
Chief Conservator of Forests, Kashmir, Manzoor Ahmad Khan said Shopian and Bandipora forest divisions are among the worst affected followed by Pir Panchal range particularly Budgam division.
“I also visited the affected areas in Bandipora and saw massive destruction of forests. We have kick-started a survey to assess damage to forests and preliminary reports suggest 25 lakh cubic feet of timber has been devastated by windstorm in Kashmir,” Khan said.
The Joint Director Forest Protection Force (FPF), Kashmir, Mian Javed said officials have been mobilized to protect the scattered timber.
“We have formed special teams to prevent theft or smuggling of logs till these are disposed off in accordance with laid procedure,” Javed said.
Environmentalist fear that destruction of forests will have adverse impacts on Kashmir’s fragile eco-system. “We are already experiencing climate change in the Valley due to vandalism of our water and forest resources by unscrupulous persons. The damage to forests by windstorm will definitely affect our eco-system and result in soil-erosion and landslides,” said prominent environmentalist, Dr AM Kak.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
- GB Pant Hospital continues to ail
- Hijack scare at Srinagar Airport
- HUNDREDS HELD; JCC TO LAUNCH FRESH AGITATION
- Central funds for computer education unspent
- Centre's nod to fill posts of HC Judges awaited
- Chased by dogs, man jumps in Jhelum, feared dead
- Recent windstorm ravaged forests
- Army Chief rules out demilitarizing Siachen
- Militant killed in Ramban
Their Son Was Killed In Punjab
SHABIR IBN YUSUF
Srinagar, May 26: Three years after a Sopore man was brutally murdered in Punjab over a marital discord, his family still awaits justice. Ishfaq Yusuf, 34, a model-turned aspiring pilot was More
- Srinagar City
GK CITY CORRESPONDENT
Srinagar, May 26: Notwithstanding government claims of continuing to facelift Jhelum banks, encroachments are eating away the riverside, including the already beautified patches where ugly illegal hutments More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, May 26: Jammu's tryst with intense heat wave continued for the second consecutive day on Saturday as the maximum temperature rose to a nearly 40 degrees Celsius, one notch above normal. The More
Observers Confirm Houla Massacre
Damascus, May 26: UN observers have counted at least 90 bodies, including 32 children, after a Syrian government attack on a town. UN mission head Maj-Gen Robert Mood told the BBC the killing in Houla More