Bali for effective steps to retrieve encroached forest land

Minister for Forest, Bali Bhagat chairing a meeting at Jammu on Monday.
Minister for Forest, Bali Bhagat chairing a meeting at Jammu on Monday.

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 9: Expressing serious concern over the large volume of forest encroachment across the State, Minister for Forest, Environment & Ecology, Bali Bhagat has called for effective measures to retrieve the land back from the encroachers.
While reviewing the overall functioning of the Forest Department and its allied wings at an officers meeting held at Van Bhawan, here today, the Minister directed the concerned to fix a time schedule for retrieving the entire chunk of land from the encroachers and save the State from huge loss. He also directed for streamlining the functioning of the department to achieve the results in a time bound manner. He laid stress on ensuring transparency at all levels to make every one accountable.
Maintaining that the department has been tasked to protect the valuable wealth and natural resources, the Minister emphasized the need for active involvement of all stakeholders in the process. He said that the department has been facing several challenges while guarding the boundaries of forests, yet there is great need to make optimum use of resources to achieve results on ground.
He also directed for streamlining the distribution of fire wood and timber to the needy. He asked for putting all the activities and services offered by the department on the website for the convenience of general masses on regular basis. He said people have lot of hope from the new dispensation and urged the officers to work with extra zeal and dedication to come up to the expectations of the masses.
Secretary Forest & Environment, Mohammad Afzal gave resume of the activities of the department and steps initiated to further streamline its functioning. He informed that the department has already launched a campaign to vacate the encroached land from the defaulters and good quantum of land has already been retrieved and action against the culprits initiated.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A. K. Singh, Chairman J&K Pollution Control Board, Abdul Razak, Chief Wild Life Warden, Deepak Khanna and several heads of the departments were present on the occasion.
Earlier, the Minister inspected the offices of Forest and Social Welfare Departments in the Secretariat and interacted with the officers and officials. He went round all the sections and enquired about the issues of the employees.

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