Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, Ch. Lal Singh on World Environment Day today called for a campaign to take a strong action to curb the illegal trade of wildlife that is threatening the biodiversity here.
Speaking at a function at Zabarwan Park here, Ch. Singh said that the forest department officials should take oath to curb the illegal trade of wildlife across the State.
The function was organized by Department of Ecology, Environment & Remote Sensing in collaboration with J&K Wildlife Protection Department on the theme of ‘Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade’ at Zabarwan Park, Boulevard Srinagar.
Ch.Singh in his address said that preservation of endangered species in wildlife, especially Hangul (Kashmir deer) was highest priority for the department. He said that government is making all out efforts to protect the wild animals in the State. He called for the greater participation of the civil society, especially womenfolk who can act as motivators to act against poaching encroachments in the forests.
Ch. Singh said that conservation of biodiversity with special reference to Hangul at Dachigam National park is being taken up very seriously and government would do anything to project it. He said that the government was working on making some comprehensive policies over protecting and preserving the forests and wildlife across the State.
The Minister said that government has initiated a process of demarcating the Forest and Wildlife land across the State and assured that strict actions would be taken against the encroachers and criminals of wildlife trade. He said that directions have already been issued to the officials of the department that there shouldn’t be any compromise on the protection of wildlife, environment and ecology across the State.
The Minister called for a greater role of the civil society in raising awareness among the people of all sections, which would help in protecting forests and wildlife. He said that the vulnerable areas in the forests are being demarcated on priority and government was keeping a strict vigil inside the forests and protected wildlife areas of the State.
Lauding the role of officials of the department in protection and conservation of the forests and wildlife, Ch. Singh urged officials to come with some innovative ideas and proposals to launch a campaign against the illegal trade of wildlife.
“Everyone has a role to play. But I think our officials who remain on the ground can become the front row motivators for the general masses. Secondly womenfolk can play greater role in preservation, conservation of the wildlife and green wealth of the State,” Ch. Singh said. “We shouldn’t be insensitive toward wildlife, our environment and ecology,” Mr Singh asserted.
Ch. Singh informed the gathering that the department has launched a scathing attack on the encroachers who are destroying the forest land. “We won’t allow anyone to encroach into the forest land,” Singh said.
Every year, June 5th is observed as World Environment Day. This year United Nations (UN) calls for a worldwide campaign to take a strong action to curb the illegal trade of wildlife, that is threatening the biodiversity of our home planet
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Forests, Ecology and Environment, Animal and Sheep Husbandry, Mir Zahoor Ahmad Mir said Kashmir has witnessed massive encroachment in forestland, wetlands and water bodies. He urged officials to work for the restoration of the forests from the encroachers and also pledged to work to end the illegal wildlife trade. He said that the vital habitation for the Hangul and disturbing it won’t be tolerated at any cost. He said that protecting Hangul shouldn’t be the only concern for the Forest department but for all the people. “We have seen massive degradation of our forests, ecology and environment, our water bodies and wetlands,” Mir said.
Earlier the Ministers also planted some of the plants inside the Zabarwan Park.
The function was also attended by MLC, Charanjeet Singh Khalsa, chairperson of Education & Women Welfare Committee of the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs and Member of the Maulana Azad National Education Foundation, Dr. Darakshan Andrabi, former MLA Basholi, Kanta Andotra, Dr Hina Bhat, Principal Secretary Forests, RK Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator Forests (PCCF) AK Singh, Chairman Pollution Control Board, Abdul Razaq, Director Social Forestry, Suresh Chugh, Director Soil Conservation, Ravi Kesar, Director Environment, OP Sharma, Chief Wildlife Warden, Kashmir, Deepak Khanna, Chief Conservator of Forests (Kashmir) Nissar Darzi among DFOs and other senior officials of the Forest department.
The function was also attended by a delegation of ‘Kashmir Hangul Expedition 2016’ which was led by Bittu Saghal, founder and Editor of Sanctuary Asia- a leading wildlife magazine. On the occasion, students from Green Valley Public School presented colourful cultural programme.
Pertinently for preservation and safety of Hangul, the Government has submitted a project of Rs. 25.72 crore to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for approval. The plan provides conservation, completion of construction and maintenance of conservation Breeding Centre as well as other provisions like veterinarian, research fellows, plan, training and Red Deer breeding expertise consultancy etc. It may be noted here, Hangul is the only Asiatic survivor of the red deer specie, which was declared a critically engendered species in the Red List of The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 1996 and also listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to which India is a signatory.