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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.

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RAJOURI:  District Administration Rajouri in a massive anti-encroachment drive retrieved 274 Kanals of state land from illegal occupation and demolished more than 30 illegal structures including shops and houses. A team of officers lead by Deputy Commissioner Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary along with SSP Yougal Manhas, ACD Noor Alam, ACR Qayoom Mir, SDMs Kartar Singh, Abdul Sattar, SDPOs Dr. Imtiaz, Jaswant Singh, Iftikhar Choudhary, Exen PWD SA Wani, Exen EM&RE Munshi Khan, Executive Officer MC, Tehsildars and other officials assisted by a 500 strong contingent of police force, workforce of 120 men and more than 20 JCB Machines initiated the drive which was carried on for the entire day.


In a meticulously planned strategy, the teams headed by various officers retrieved the prime land at 5 different locations. A stretch of 87 Kanal prime land under illegal constructions was retrieved during the first phase of drive. Another patch of land measuring 163 Kanal was retrieved and fenced by the team along with police force. Land measuring 12 Kanals belonging to custodian department and occupied by some locals near district hospital was also retrieved.


Prime land located between Abdullah Bridge and new alternate bridge measuring 12 kanal has also been fenced. The value of entire land fenced is around Rs 70-75 Cr as per the notified stamp duty rates. The huge fleet of machinery deployed along with the team of officers and police force demolished more than 30 structures which included 14 shops, 11 concrete residential houses, 2 workshops, 1 service station and 3 sheds apart from a vast network of concrete plinths and foundations. No injury or damage was reported during the drive.


In view of cold weather district administration has also provided temporary accommodation for one week in favour of the evicted families and necessary arrangements were put in place. Meanwhile a separate enquiry is being conducted into the role of some locals in sale and purchase of state land and involvement of officials in wrongful vesting of titles or allowing illegal constructions.

DC Dr. Shahid informed that the eviction and demolition drive will continue during the month and similar patches of land will be retrieved shortly. He also informed that projects for construction of Parking lot of 1000 vehicles and a recreation park have been approved and will be constructed on retrieved land. Administration is also starting construction of circular road from new bridge to district court complex via Anandpur ashram utilising retrieved land.

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  • ‘8 persons arrested, 22 FIRs registered against culprits’


BUDGAM: Highlighting the steps taken by the district administration to curb soil excavation and prevent further vandalizing of the fertile karewas, Deputy Commissioner, Budgam Mohammad Harun Malik today revealed 32 tippers and four machines including JCB and L&T were seized for illegally supplying the soil during the previous year. Chairing a meeting to review the present status of the action taken against the tippers, machines and person involved in illegal soil excavation, the DC further revealed that 22 FIRs were also registered at Budgam Police Station, while as eight accused persons have been arrested during the past year.


The meeting was attended by the ADC Budgam, Mohammad Farooq Dar, DSP Hqr Budgam and SHO Police station Budgam. Appreciating his employees for the commendable work, DDC urged the concerned to redouble their efforts to ensure that no illegal excavation takes place anywhere in the district and directed to immediately seize tippers and other machinery if found involved in the illegal soil excavation activity.


The DC said that the illegal soil excavation is adversely affecting the topography and vandalizing the Budgam Karewas. He stressed that police in collaboration with the Geology and Mining department should keep a check on the tippers supplying soil illegally from the district. He also stressed on the establishing of checkpoints and conducting of night raids to curb the illegal soil excavation and directed concerned to take stringent action against the accused. He asserted on regular checks by the concerned, adding only those tippers which are permitted for the Rakh Aarth filling and other government projects should be allowed to transport the soil.