Illegal deforestation, serious threat to state economy as well as ecological imbalance

BHADERWAH: The illegal felling of green Cedar (Deodar) and pine trees despite Supreme Court ban is fast depriving Jammu and Kashmir of its precious forest wealth. The state is losing its green sheen fast as the forest land has shrunk from 20,230 sq km to just 7,590 sq km as per data furnished by the state Department of Forests earlier this year. 

Jammu and Kashmir State which is praised for its greenery and thick forest attract lots of national and international Tourists who visit here and give boost to our state economy; also generate multidimensional public sector employment among 69.7% un-employed youths in Jammu province and 29% un-employed youth in Kashmir province. The Black Gold in shape of Black Cedar ( Deodar) which in this country is available only in Bhaderwah range hills after Germany  in the world , also help to maintain ecological balance and rises ample revenue to the state treasury.

Let me elucidate that if we talk of 26293sq. Km area of Jammu province we will find that the bulk of such green forest falls in District Doda, particularly in Bhaderwah area under Chenab circle Nerru Range. Forest in this area are filled with Chir,Kail,Deodar, Alpine Fir,(Abeispindrow), Uttilabetuls, Abeispindrow, Pineus Exelsia, Humis Pine Needles and special kinds of herbs and medicinal plants.

Located at a height of 6,500 feet, the Bhaderwah region of Doda district is a picturesque valley, with thick coniferous forests on all sides but illegal deforestation by timber mafia is depleting the forest cover. Famous for its snow peaks and lush green forests Jammu and Kashmir gets most of its revenue from forest wealth. But the green trees worth millions have been illegally chopped off in different compartments in Bhaderwah valley.

So it becomes duty of both public and administration to exert for the protection of these forests. The initiative taken in this regards by Media agencies and Social activists who time to time mobilized the public to refrain from damaging the forests, so that the future of coming generation could be secured.

Most astonishingly the negative role of administration particularly the forest department from top to bottom is bent upon to fritter these forests to fulfill their vested interests. They are blamed to be accompliced   with the forest destruction elements and are such impudent that even when any agency highlights such issues by providing legitimate solid proof even then they  hesitate to take any action . They rather exert to relegate such ruffianage.

In a recent example of this kind, when a Media team along with social activists exposed illegal forest cutting in compartment No. 66 Nerru range of forest Division Bhaderwah where more than 40 Cedar (DEVDAR)  and Pine  trees were swiped illegally without any permission in few days, insisted to book all those persons involved in this scandal in a nexus with department. After collecting all kinds of proofs and taking photographs of this mass illegal cutting they approached SDM Bhaderwah and requested him to visit the spot where this illegal tree felling was done.

SDM Bhaderwah instead of Calling Police informed DFO Bhaderwah and they jointly examine the spot.. After that DFO constituted departmental enquiry committee and concerned Guard was suspended merely to eye wash  .Like a Scapegoat giving way to the high level officers actually involved in this heinous crime. Taking advantage of these latches the corrupt officials with the help of timbers smugglers tried to erase evidences by burning the stems and also enrooting the stems from the ground levels. The team has taken these photographs also.

It thus becomes imperative to investigate such incidence in right perspective so that the account ability could be framed against the real culprits and our forests could be saved from any further destruction. It should also be considered that this illegal cutting has been exposed on road side only four Kilometers away from forest office. The investigation team claim that without security they cannot dare to go into deep forests where on large scale, the illegal green felling is in progress. 

Similar case has been detected in forest block Duggi Kansar area in Bhaderwah valley where almost more than young green 200 Cedar and Pine trees has been cutted illegally and both public and forest employees blame each other for it. High level enquiry committee is needed to constituted to investigate all such matters in a fare manner so that truth may come out and culprits be got booked. So that the precious wealth of the nation can be saved.  ( Story by / Mansoor Qadir-Bhaderwah)

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