Stressing upon the need for collective efforts to protect the green wealth of the state, Minister for Forest , Ecology and Environment, Ch. Lal Singh today said that all stakeholders have to take part and strengthen the initiatives of the government in this regard.
The minister said this during a public meeting held here today. The minister also interacted with various deputations of Gujjars, Bakerwals along with people of other nomadic communities who called on him to project their demands and problems.
While emphasising that forest laws shall be imposed strictly to check encroachments on forest land, the minister said that people are the guardian of this wealth and their cooperation is vital to protect forests.
The minister expressed dismay over certain illegal constructions on the Wild Life Sanctuary and Forest land and directed the officers to tackle strictly with such land grabbers. Such practices not only create problems for the department to conserve forest wealth effectively but also badly hamper state's progress, he added.
He said that no permanent structure will be allowed on forest land while the temporary structures on need basis as permissible under forest laws shall be facilitated.
He stressed upon the concerned officers to perform their duties with utmost zeal and dedication as their services hold the great responsibility of protecting and preserving state's incredible flora and fauna. In this regard, he cautioned them against any laxity on their part which can invoke strict action under law.
Singh urged upon the nomads to contribute their role in making the anti-encroachment drive a grand success in every nook and corner of the state. He appealed them to extend their cooperation in combating illegal encroachments of forest lands as they have a huge role to play in this context.
He also conveyed to them the concern and care of the government towards their welfare as they form an integral part of the society.
The minister assured them that the Forest Department is formulating a holistic policy for survival of forest dwellers as their life is totally dependent on forests.
He also added that the department is encouraging the forest dwellers to fill an application, in Urdu as well as in Hindi, for allotment of temporary shelters in forest land which will be given to them after proper verification.
He further said that the main objective of the department is to remove encroachment from forest land by clearly demarcating the forests besides removal of weeds from forests. He said instructions have been issued to Forest and its allied wings to ensure proper demarcation of forest land across the state to keep a check on encroachments.
Singh stated that the department will soon bring into motion the process of forming new grazing committees which will have genuine stake holders so that various problems related to these communities will get solution at the earliest.
He also directed the DFOs to make proper survey of number of permanent structures raised in the forests besides having congenial approach towards temporary structures in forest land.
The minister said that a plan is being embarked upon to develop deer park, Forest Check Posts besides Forest compartments and nurseries on such lands.
The deputations apprised the minister of various problems being faced by them like lack of knowledge about preparation of documents for allotment, proper awareness regarding their rights on forest produce besides highlighting several bottlenecks in implementation of Forest Act.