Save Raika forest

Raika is a prominent forest of Jammu and is rightly called the “Lungs of Jammu”. If this forest is destroyed, there will be a major change in the climate of Jammu in the subsequent years.
The Government is talking about compensatory afforestation but let me bring to your notice that 80 percent of the trees don’t survive in compensatory afforestation because they are not taken care of. Moreover, there are some legal valid arguments that I would like to put forth in support of Raika-
* Some researchers found that the Government is not showing the real figures for number of trees being cut (3000 trees on official records but there are approximately 38000 trees which will get effected due to this).
* The number of houses of villagers (who will be relocated) shown in the official record doesn’t match with real records.
* As per a recent report on Area of shape file provided by Survey of India (December , 2019). We have no dense forest cover in Jammu, which implies that we should not cut those forest areas which are there, for these tree are the ones which work as carbon sink and they are home to a number of wild animals.
We cannot build a building that is meant to serve justice to people on a land that is cleared and acquired after imparting justice to 38000 trees and thousands of animals, birds and humans.
Raika needs us now, and we need it even more, more than ever because climate change is real and climate action is just policies and protocols that are being discussed, written and forgotten after the meetings.
Niha Bhat