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  • Lal Singh inaugurates mega plantation drive at Barnoti

KATHUA: Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment, Choudhary Lal Singh today inaugurated mega plantation drive in which more than 25,000 saplings were planted on 5 km long stretch of National Highway at Barnoti here. The mega plantation drive was a joint initiative of State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) and Social Forestry Department in which trees including Peepal, Bourd, Guava, Saru, Neem, Safaida, Bruganvillea, Kitamb and other medicinal plants were planted on the roadside strips and open spaces.


SFRI also provided 97,000 different plants to Social Forestry Department for plantation in 48 left out road strips in Kathua town near Barnoti. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Ravi Kesar, Deputy Commissioner Rohit Khajuria, Chief Wildlife Warden Manoj Panth, Chairman State Pollution Control Board B Sidhartha, Director Social Forestry Ashwani Kumar Gupta, Director SFC Suresh Gupta, Director FPF Asif Mehmood Sagar, Chief Conservator of Forests Farooq Gillini, Director SFRI B M Sharma, Director Soil Water and Conservation Javed Iqbal Punju, Director Environment and Remote Sensing O P Sharma, Regional Director Social Forestry Roop Avtar Kour, Regional Director Wild Life Dr V.S Sinthil Kumar besides other senior officers of Forest and its allied wings participated in the Mega Plantation Drive at Barnoti.


While addressing the gathering, Choudhary Lal Singh said the initiative has been taken to cover every open space with greenery. SFRI and Social Forestry Wings have been directed to develop nurseries with different plants to beautify every area with green face, he added. He appealed the people to hold plantation drives during the monsoon season and advised them to plant trees in and around their localities as they adapt readily to local climate, integrate into the eco-system and prove helpful in supporting birds, insect and animals.


The Minister directed the officers of SFRI and Social Forestry to deploy dedicated staff in their jurisdictions for ensuring timely watering of plants. He also asked the State Pollution Control Board not to allow industrialists to release pollution through their industries in Samba and Kathua. He asked the industrialists to follow the norms of the SPCB for running their units and providing pollution free environ to the people.

He stressed on the role of trees in maintaining balance in nature and emphasized that the people should come forward and plant trees for protecting green wealth for survival of mankind. The Minister informed that during last monsoon, the Forest department had planted about two crore plants across the state in forests and road strips. The main focus of the department would be on the plantation of fruit, ornamental and medicinal plants as these trees remain green throughout the year adding to the beauty of the State, he stressed.


Choudhary Lal Singh said that the Forest Department has been tasked with a very important role to conserve the natural resources which directly impact the life of human beings and other living creatures. He said dedicated efforts are required to meet this noble cause. Later, on the way, Choudhary Lal Singh found some trolleys and tractors plying without following the guidelines of SPCB. He directed SPCB to cancel the licenses of the drivers who are found plying the vehicles without plastic sheet (Tripal) and creating problems for the commuters.