Srinagar, July 23: To promote and increase the forest cover in J&K through people’s participation, the Administrative Council (AC) which met here under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, G C Murmu, accorded approval to the Forest Department’s proposal of organizing an integrated ‘Green J&K Drive- 2020’ to double the plantation target achieved during previous year.
With an aim of planting 100 lakh trees covering 15,000 hectares of degraded forest areas during the year 2020-21, the drive will seek participation from Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), line departments, , educational institutions, army, para-military forces, police and civil society, for which the Forest Department will provide the requisite tree saplings. The Forest Department will also prepare a proposal for sharing the usufruct with Panchayats.
Additionally, the plantation drive will help rehabilitate the degraded forests, enhance afforestation of suitable areas including vacant lands outside forests, village woodlots, farm lands and fallow lands.
The drive extensively focuses on extending tree cover outside forests to reduce pressure on natural forests for supplying minor forest produce, increasing sustainability of forest/tree cover, and optimally utilizing the mitigation and adaptation potential of forests in the context of climate change and resilient land use; which will invariably improve the scenic beauty of Jammu & Kashmir, besides improving the quality and regulation of water in its major rivers.
Green J&K plantation drive is a step forward in achieving the goal under the National Forest Policy which envisages hill states to have two-third geographical area under green cover to ensure stability of fragile eco-system.
Further, the decision also targets augmenting livelihood opportunities amidst existing COVID pandemic by creating 1.3 million man days for unskilled labour to undertake activities like production of saplings, their transportation, plantation, maintenance, and collection and sale of minor forest produce.