Implement Forest Rights Act in letter and spirit: Bukhari

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari addressing the gathering in Handwara on Wednesday.
Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari addressing the gathering in Handwara on Wednesday.

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, July 14: Apni Party president, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari today asserted that the Forest Rights Act need to be implemented in letter and spirit across Jammu and Kashmir so that the forest dwellers that have since ages remained dependent on the raw resources are benefitted and their rights are safeguarded.
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.”Earlier, the forest dwellers were allowed to use the fallen trees, damaged or drift wood for the contraction purposes. Unfortunately, the State Forest Corporation bars the people living in the forest zones from their inherent advantages,” Bukhari remarked.
Referring to the tourism potential of Kupwara, Apni Party president stressed on the J&K Government to augment the tourism infrastructure in the district and bring the virgin destinations on the Tourism map. “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, adding that the Tourism Department should focus on development of such destinations if it wants an increased footfall of tourists in border areas. Bukhari urged the PWD 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. He said 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.
The meeting was also attended by Provincial president Mohd Ashraf Mir, District president Kupwara Raja Manzoor, Abdul Rahim Wani, Abdul Rashid Bhat, Bilal Arif, Dr Tajamul and Mohammad Amin Bhat.