Taking trek of around 10 kilometers of Zabarwan Hills, Minister for Forest Environment and Ecology Choudhary Lal Singh on Wednesday said the Government is committed to develop city forests and focus on tree lining for improving the green cover in the state's summer capital and also promote eco-tourism.
"There is a need to develop the city forest areas in and around the Srinagar city," he informed the officials during the Zabarwan Hills trek.
He said Forest Department would develop the city forests in summer capital Srinagar, from Zabarwan hills including Koh-e-Maran, Shankar Achariya hills, and other adjoining hills which would add new life to the historic city.
"Our aim is to develop the Srinagar city forest area on priority to attract more and more adventure and eco-friendly tourists," he said.
The Minister informed that the Government would plant over 15 lakh plants in and alongside the city forest area.
He also took a review of plantation and other works carried out by the department. He asked officials to begin the further plantation drive soon. He said that Department would undertake massive plantation drive in and alongside famed Zabarwan hills and focus on improving tree lining, an official handout said.
The Minister said that he was personally monitoring the works being carried out by the department. He said his earlier trek from Pari Mahal foothills which later culminated at Kral Sangri plantation nursery has given him an understating of developing this forest area into prime tourist attraction.
The Minister was accompanied by Chief Conservator of Forests, Kashmir, Nissar Ahmed Darzi, Conservators, DFOs, Warden, Dachigam National Park, Tahir Shawl, DFO Urban Circle, Hakim Mukhtar Ahmad along with other senior officials of the Forest and its allied wings.
The minister said the Forest Department has been directed to start a massive plantation drive and work on achieving targets. The Minister asked the officials to put in concerted efforts and mobilize the available resources for taking up plantation drive in and alongside Zabarwan hills. Lal Singh also asked them to immediately start plantation drive in degraded forest areas of their respective jurisdictions.
"Zabarwan hills will be soon get green cover improvement with fresh life," he said.
The Minister also urged officials to have a liaison with the public over launching massive plantation drive across the region. He said that public participation is vital for preservation of environment.
Later the Minister also took stock of the of the forest areas which witnessed forest fires. He asked officials to keep check on such tragedies and depute fire watchers for better results. "Officials should also keep close check on the smugglers who are destroying the forests by taking undue advantage of the ongoing unrest in Kashmir region," he said.