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  • Inspects functioning of State Forest Research Institute at Sidhra


JAMMU: Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment, Choudhary Lal Singh inspected the State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) at Sidhra here today and directed to identify the open areas to be developed into green spaces. The Minster instructed the Director, SFRI, B M Sharma, to prepare a comprehensive plan for raising about two crore plants of fruit, ornamental, bougainvillea in the established SFRI nurseries for coming rainy season so that the left out open spaces and road side strips are  covered under green cover.   


Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Ravi Kesar, Commissioner Secretary Forest, Ecology and Environment, Sourab Bhagat, Chief Wildlife Warden ,Manoj Panth, Regional Director Wild Life, Dr V S Sinthil Kumar besides other senior officers of SFRI, Wildlife protection and Soil Water and Conservation accompanied the Minister. “The notion of developing open spaces into green covers needs to be initiated with determination not only by the government or concerned officials but also by the people as it will ultimately benefit each and every individual”, the Minister asserted.


Choudhary Lal Singh urged the people to become ‘Green Ambassadors’ as goals of extensive plantation can be attained only with the active participation of people on a large scale. “Improving biodiversity and living in harmony with nature has been a part of our culture for thousands of years”, the Minister maintained. He advised to plant native trees because they readily adapt to local climate, integrate into the eco-system have a high survival rate and are helpful in supporting local birds, insects and animals. He further said that when an individual plants a tree, a bond is developed between them which inspires the person to take care of that plant and in this manner survival of the plant is ensured.


Earlier, the Minister visited Jambu Zoo in Khanpur near Nagrota and reviewed the progress of the ongoing development works of the prestigious project. He instructed the Wildlife Protection Department to plant Bruganvillea plants along the internal link road sides for the beautification of Zoo. He directed the Wildlife Protection department to keep a regular check on executing agencies to ensure the timely completion of the ongoing projects. He said that Government has earmarked Rs. 62 lakh for construction of two reservoirs at Jambu Zoo with the storage capacity of 3 lakh gallon water. He said that after  commissioning of both the projects, the water would be utilized for drinking water, irrigation and water fall purposes.


Choudhary Lal Singh further instructed the wildlife department to immediately float the tenders for construction of water storage reservoirs, Bore well,  Blacktopping of 4 km approach road, artificial water fall, nature interpretation centre, development of parking area, Cafeteria, views points, internal road links to Jambu Zoo and other allied works.  The Minister also directed the Wildlife Department to call tenders for purchase of 6 battery cars for Jambu Zoo and 100 cycles besides 4 battery cars for Jastrota Fort for the convenience of visiting tourists. Calling for need based development and quality work, the Minister stressed on the utilization of allocated funds for various developmental works to the full. He said the officers will be made accountable for implementation of all the programs and schemes in their respective jurisdictions.

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BUDGAM: Karewas in Cetnral Kashmir’s Budgam district have been disfigured by the land mafia who has been resorting to soil cutting allegedly in connivance with officials while top administrative officials and District Police have been acting as mute spectators. The irony is that JCB owners are openly claiming that they are doing all this with the support of Budgam administration. The contractors who use JCB’s and bulldozers in broad day light can be seen excavating soil in several areas of Budgam including Beerwah, Mallapora, Chaira, Sonar Kolipora, Batapora, Dedan, Sangpora, Grend Kalan, Nendwendpora, Palar, Dejj, Magam Sofipora, and Sehpora.


Reports said that neither officials from civil administration nor from police have been taking cognizance of these illegal practices. People alleged that due to lack of action from local administration, land mafia has become more active from past few weeks. They resort to soil cutting even in broad day light, thus damaging the karewas of Budgam. Pertinently, as per section 133-A of J&K Land Revenue Act, excavation of soil is banned for personal gains. A local from Mallapora village told News agency CNS that after the complaint from the people, District administration had stopped this illegal practice, but now again these vested interest elements have become active. “This illegal practice is not possible without the hidden support of officials,” he said.


An estimated 20 to 30 % of the Karewas in Budgam and Chadoora tehsils alone have been raised to ground after continuous plunder by several construction companies, land mafias and real estate companies. Huge JCBs and other heavy duty earth excavators are being used to excavate the soil which has turned these beautiful hills into valleys of death and destruction. A JCB owner Athar Ali said that he is not the only one who has been resorting to soil cutting but there are scores of people involved in this illegal practice. “It’s not my Mallapora area only but I can tell you the names of all villages where this illegal practice is being adopted. Without the active role of police, this illegal practice can’t be stopped,” Ali said. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan said that he would definitely look into the matter. “I will talk to DDC Budgam and will put an end to this menace,” he said.

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  • Government is showing inability in retrieving power projects from the Central government and NHPC

SRINAGAR: Expressing concern over the deplorable condition of Electricity in Valley during winters, co-chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA)-an organization of various trade bodies, Farooq Ahmed Dar Sunday said that despite huge availability of natural resources, “J&K has been relegated to a consumer state by harsh policies of central and state government.” Criticizing the government for ignoring the people in Kashmir, Dar said that despite being detrimental to the state’s economy, government is showing inability in retrieving power projects from the Central government and NHPC.

“We pay more than rupees 5,000 crores taxes annually. But this hardly bothers  government as it is more interested in appeasing NHPC and political bosses at Delhi,” Dar said, emphasizing,  “Power projects should only be owned by state administration without any meddling from outside forces. “Allah has bestowed with us with natural resources, but the vision of state government is so blurred that  our natural resources are being looted right under it watch..” He exhorted.

Dar said” that the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed by India and Pakistan is the main villain in the powerlessness of J&K. “The treaty was signed to reel the J&K people in darkness. Rest, the loot of natural resources is being carried on by NHPC for the last 30 years here. Both the central and state government is responsible for pathetic scenario of our economy,” Dar alleged. 

Notifying that the last two decades have incurred astronomical losses to the states business sector, Dar alleged that despite this, government is bent on breaking the back of business people through imposition of new taxes.“We are not against paying of taxes. But government should consider the deplorable condition of business in Valley first before imposing any new taxes,” asserted Dar

“Despite having one of the most backward economies across the globe, Kashmiri traders have been paying more than 60 percent of taxes to the central government for the last 60 years in J&K. But, the condition of infrastructure is deplorable, that it gets evident that not a single penny from our taxes has been spent on infrastructure here. Besides, the present infrastructural mess is totally unviable for investment by outside players,” he said.

“The Modi government is bent on breaking the back of economy here, and is responsible for its battered structure. Had the central and state governments felt our pain, I don’t think they would have deepened our crisis through hard and rigid policies,” he pointed.“Being at the helm of central affairs, the BJP government only knows to pinch the business community in Kashmir harder. We have only suffered miseries through its rule. Dar Said