Govt to launch massive plantation drive to rejuvenate degraded forests

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Nov 24: Minister for Forests, Ecology & Environment, Bali Bhagat inaugurated one-day workshop on “Climate Change Concerns Adaptation & Mitigation” organized by the Department of Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing in collaboration with University of Jammu (JU) here today.
The objective of the workshop is to discuss the issues related to the growing menace of environmental degradation, climate change, their impact on earth and living beings and to address these growing concerns.
The event also provided an opportunity to the research scholars, scientists, experts, officers to exchange their views on the subject in length and they suggested several measures to deal with this sensitive subject effectively.
Vice Chancellor University of Jammu, Prof R D Sharma, Principal Secretary Forests, R K Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A K Singh, Director Environment, Ecology & Remote Sensing, Dr O P Sharma, HoD Environ-mental Science, JU, Dr. A.K. Raina, all HoDs of Forest Departments, large number of research scholars and Faculty Members of JU, former HoDs of Forest Department participated in the workshop.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that environment and climate change are among the biggest challenges concerning the world and efforts are being made by individual countries to deal effectively with this hazard. He said it is not an issue to be handled by one country, but the entire world community has to make collective resolve to address it by putting an effective mechanism in place. He said only deliberations and holding of seminars will not work, but it is the time to act and requires hard decisions on ground. He called upon the experts and scholars to come out with concrete suggestions which can help in rejuvenating the environment and reverse the effects of climate change.
Maintaining that the Government has chalked out a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate the degraded forests across the State and shortly a massive plantation drive will be launched with the active support of local people and several other stakeholders under Public Private Partnership, he said the Department of Forest has developed over 150 nurseries across the State which have over one crore plants that will be planted in the degraded areas. The plantation drive will be a regular feature and department has already identified the worst affected areas.
Stressing the need for dovetailing the efforts by the concerned departments for achieving the common goal, the Minister directed the officers to chalk out a strategy to undertake affective awareness campaigns throughout the State to educate the masses about the hazards of environmental degradation.
The Vice Chancellor in his address said that seminar is a better platform for the scholars and faculty members to interact in depth which could be useful in seeking solutions to deal with the issue. He said Jammu University is equally concerned about the environment related issues and is making constant efforts to educate the masses by organizing awareness camps at different places. He suggested some valuable measures to deal with the issue.
Several speakers including Prof A K Raina and O P Sharma also addressed the gathering and highlighted the adverse affects of environment degradation and climate change in day-to-day life.
Later, the Minister inaugurated the additional office accommodation of Directorate of Soil Conservation at Bahu Narwal, constructed at a cost of Rs 25 lakh. The new accommodation will be exclusively utilized by the Direction office by housing all its offices.
Principal Secretary Forests, Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A.K. Singh, Director Soil Conservation, Ravi Kesar and HoDs of other wings of the Forest Department were present on the occasion.