Samba: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Thursday launched the ‘Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive’ here from AIIMS Vijaypur.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said the target for the current year was the planting of 1.5 crore saplings.
To mark the day, the LG felicitated the Village Panchayat Plantation Committees for outstanding performance in plantation drives in their respective panchayats.
Notified Jammu and Kashmir Social Forestry (Plantation) Rules-2022 were also unveiled on the occasion.
The LG reiterated the J&K government’s commitment to sustainable management of rich natural wealth to combat climate change and ensure a better future for the younger generations.
“Protection and conservation of natural resources and striking a perfect balance between nature and development is our topmost priority,” he said.
Highlighting the role of community participation in ecologically sustainable development, the LG asked the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) and civil society to play an effective role as partners of the Green Mission.
“Two Rs - Respect and Restore the delicate balance in nature is the way forward for a Green Future. Citizens should take the lead in the ecological movement for regeneration,” he said.
The LG underscored the reforms introduced by the J&K government in the last two years aimed at reducing the impact of climate change and overcoming the challenges of the fragile ecosystem.
“J&K is blessed with nature's rich resources with 54 percent of the area under green cover. A large population of J&K is dependent on forests for their livelihood. Dedicated efforts are being made to safeguard their interests besides bringing behaviour change in the lifestyle of the people making conservation of nature a part of their everyday life,” he said.
Terming forests the mainstay of priority sectors of J&K’s economy including Agriculture, Horticulture, Tourism, Power Generation, Wood Industry, and Animal Husbandry, the LG shared the government’s vision to bring the two-third area of J&K under forest and tree cover and make the protection of natural resources an integral part of J&K’s development model.
“J&K Social Forestry Plantation Rules is another great example of devolution of funds, functions to panchayats in J&K, and empowering all 4290 Village Panchayat Plantation Committees of J&K,” he said. “These rules envisage the active participation of Village Panchayat Plantation Committees (VPPCs) at the level of Gram Panchayats to take up works of afforestation and their protection, equitable distribution of plantation-based benefits, and management of Gram Panchayat Fund by realizing 75 percent share from the proceeds of mature plantations.”
Citing a report of the Centre, the LG said that the per capita value of forest produce in J&K was the highest in the country which comes to Rs 25 compared to Rs 3.72 for Madhya Pradesh, Rs 2.48 for Kerala, and Rs 1.69 for Maharashtra.
“Our per capita wood consumption is also higher than other states and import of wood worth Rs 500-600 crore is being done every year,” he said.
The LG underlined the need for integrating the development process with the environment protection campaigns.
“As J&K is witnessing a new era of industrial development, Forests and Industries Departments are coming together to plant 1.5 lakh trees of different varieties around the industrial parks and industrial clusters which should be a regular activity,” he said.
The LG called for active participation of the people, PRIs, Village Plantation Committees, and school children in environmental conservation efforts and urged the citizens to follow the Green Protocol voluntarily by using biodegradable products only at weddings.
He also advised the Forest Department and the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Board to introduce ‘Best out of Waste’ in the homework tasks for creating awareness about environmental protection among the children.
The LG called for running a campaign against the use of plastic and reaching out to the maximum population to make them aware of the importance of environmental protection and conservation.
He appreciated the Forest Department and all stakeholders for planting about 2 crore 38 lakh new saplings in the last two years and making a significant contribution to increasing J&K’s green cover.
He also commended the Panchayat Village Plantation Committees for their active participation in Natural Resource Management.
The LG also e-inaugurated a double-storey office building of Conservator of Forest, North Circle in Sopore, and released a documentary and a publication on Green J&K Drive and Jan-Bhagidari - one year of working in partnership with Village Panchayat Plantation Committee.
He also planted a tree sapling in the AIIMS premises.
Earlier, Member of Parliament Jugal Kishore Sharma congratulated the J&K administration for achieving visible results in increasing the green cover of J&K.
DDC Chairperson Samba Keshav Dutt Sharma urged the people to come forward and play their role in environmental protection.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) Mohit Gera in his welcome address threw light on the significance of the Green J&K Drive.
President AIIMS Jammu Y K Gupta thanked the LG for choosing AIIMS for the launching of Green J&K Drive.
Director Social Forestry Roshan Jaggi concluded the programme with a vote of thanks.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu Ramesh Kumar, and Deputy Commissioner Samba Anuradha Gupta were also present during the launch of the ‘Green J&K Drive’.