Srinagar: Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Monday said that the Forest Rights Act (FRA) need to be implemented in letter and spirit across Jammu and Kashmir so that ‘the forest dwellers who have since ages remained dependent on the raw resources are benefitted and their rights are safeguarded.’
According to a statement issued here, Bukhari was speaking to a public gathering at Waderbala-Rajwar-Handwara in Kupwara district wherein he said that cancellation of forest zoning is detrimental to the environment because it can lead to hostile tendencies among the forest dwellers.
“The government must continue with the benefits given to the forest dwellers under Kashmir Forest Notice whereby the inhabitants of forest zones especially in category-A were provided with timber at nominal rates. Similarly the government should enforce the Forest Rights Act on ground if at all it is serious in preventing deforestation across Jammu and Kashmir,” Bukhari opined.
He expressed regrets on the sufferings of inhabitants of border districts who are deprived of the benefits accorded by the Forest Department under law.
Referring to the tourism potential of Kupwara, Apni Party president said “Bungus Valley is a world known tourism spot with its unique picturesque ambiance. The only loophole is that it lags in tourism infrastructure.”
He said that the tourism potential of Bungus Valley needs to be honed so that the local unemployed youth are able to fetch self sustenance. “People of this area are badly suffering from water scarcity, poor roads, dismal education and health infrastructure. It is regrettable that only a kilometer of distance connecting Waderbala with Bungus Valley has not been developed into a motorable road by the successive governments and the local leaders. The natives, not to talk of tourists, are supposed to walk by foot upto at least five kilometers to reach Bungus Valley. I appeal to the government to look into these genuine grievances of the people and resolve the same without any further delay,” he added.
Bukhari urged the Public Works Department to go for blasting of a hill that can minimize the distance between Bungus valley and the adjoining villages. Addressing the occasion, Party Senior Vice President Ghulam Hassan Mir emphasized on the District Party leaders to strengthen their cadres by listening and addressing the grievances of the people round the clock.
“The core agenda of the Apni Party is to mitigate the sufferings of the people and we should always be at their service. Our manifesto encompasses the holistic development of Jammu and Kashmir without any regional bias and I assure that Apni Party will work tirelessly for an overall development of Kupwara district,” Mir said.