Monday, May 18, 2009

A call for addressing climate change issues

Discusses WB-aided J&K Participatory Water Management Project 
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister (CM) Mr. Omar Abdullah today called for large-scale afforestation in the State by using innovative measures to reclaim the denuded and depleted forest areas. He said in the present-day age, climate change issues get prime focus, given the fact that survival of mankind hinges on sustaining our ecosystem and saving it from the hazards of global warming. 
Chairing a high-level meeting of Forest Department here today to discuss matters regarding implementation of World Bank-aided Jammu and Kashmir Participatory Water Management Project (PWMP), the Chief Minister showed concern about degradation of forests and water-bodies in the State. “Possibilities for aerial seeding of plants in upper reaches and inaccessible mountainous ranges should be explored to rejuvenate forest wealth”, he stressed.
Mr. Abdullah said that in order to protect and conserve the forests and water-bodies of the State, innovative measures by roping in subject matter specialists and involving people need to be taken to address this issue of eco-significance. He asked the Forest Department to look for modern means for rejuvenating forests and ensuring conservation and protection of environment. “State’s forests and water-bodies are fundamental ingredients of natural beauty and economic resources. We have to focus on their protection at all costs”, the Chief Minister maintained.
The meeting, which was also attended by Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment Mian Altaf Ahmad and Chief Secretary, Mr. S. S. Kapur, discussed in detail matters pertaining to the implementation of PWMP in the State.
Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr. Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Principal Secretary, Law, Mr. Akhtar Kochak and Commissioner/Secretary, Forests, Mr. Shant Manu and senior officers of the Forest Department were present in the meeting.
In a power-point presentation made in the meeting, it was stated that the project envisages coverage of 4,32,920 hectares and is spread over 11 sub-watershed areas for adopting an integrated watershed management to reverse the process of degradation of the natural resource base, as well as enhance its productivity and improve livelihood of poor rural households in the project area.
The project cost has been estimated at Rs. 750 crore. Of this, World Bank financing will be to the tune of 80 per cent while as State Government’s share is 17 per cent and that of participatory communities 3 per cent. The life of the project will be seven years.
The project will be operative in 11 sub-watershed areas of Indus in Leh and Suru in Kargil, Kahmil in Kupwara, Jhelum in Baramulla, Sind in Ganderbal, Sukhnag in Budgam, Lidder in Anantnag, Ans in Budhal, Rajouri, Munawar Tawi in Khour, Jammu, Kuntwara in Balassea, Doda and Tawi in Jindhra, Jammu. As many as 1,74,250 households would be covered under the project while as 50,675 households would get direct benefit. The project is likely to benefit over 10 lakh people and generate 45 lakh person-days of wage employment besides providing jobs to 2,000 persons regularly for seven years.
The focus of the project will be on improving the productive potential of natural resources in selected watersheds and increasing the income of the rural poor. The benefits accruing out of the project include on-farm benefits, off-farm benefits and environment and natural resources benefits. The on-farm benefits include demonstration of improved cropping system, provision of inputs, improved agro-ecosystems, development of rain-fed crops like maize, pulses, gram and wheat and cultivation of irrigated crops by providing water harvesting and minor irrigation structures.
The development of horticulture, farm forestry, livestock, afforestation, potable water supply, wage-employment generation, watershed management and development, enhancement of livelihood opportunities, institutional strengthening, non-arable land and arable land development, rural infrastructure development, fodder development, development of migratory route and assistance to tribal/trans-human populations also fall under the ambit of PWMP.

First ever Cultural Extravaganza at Doda

First ever high profile Cultural Extravaganza held at Dak Banglow here in which more than 250 artists of seven regional languages of the State participated. The programme
under the title “ DHANAK” was organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Art,Culture and Languages in collaboration with the Sangeet Natak Akademi,New Delhi. The main attraction of the musical bonanza was the participation of eminent artists from the three regions of the State.
The Kashmiri Rouf, Hafiz Nagma, Dhamali Dance, Dogri Jagarna, Bhaderwahi Songs and Kudd were highly appreciated by the audience. The main attraction of the programme was the Ladakhi marriage dance, in which 25 local artists participated. This was for the first time that a team of tribal nomad Gujjars of Bhaessa performed the much popular Gujjardance on the occasion. The Pahari, the dancers from Karnah spell bound the audience .
Earlier Secretary Academy, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas stated that main objective of this programme is to highlight over diversity of our centuries old traditions. He said that this is rather first time in the history of Doda that more than 250 prominent artists of State are assembled here at this remote district to celebrate 150th anniversary of our movement for independence. 
The first phase of this event was held at Leh in October , second phase was held in Jammu last February Third phase of this programme of Music and Dance was held at Poonch last month and this is the forth phase.
The fifth phase of this cultural extravaganza would be held at Srinagar in coming month. 
He said that we are planning to invite the state artists who are presently settled in different parts of the country to take part in these festivals to be organized for unity and
integrity of the state.
Among other dignitaries district administration, Police, CRP and Army Officers were also witnessed the event .Speaking on the occasion various dignitaries including SSP Doada, Additional Dy Commissioner Dada, Commandant CRPF and Army high officials described artists as ambassadors of peace and urged them to disseminate the message of harmony and love through various forms of art - music being the paramount of them. He had a word of praise for the local artists, singers, dancers, sculptors, painters etc, and observed that the traditional folk -heritage have caught the imagination of the art lovers across the country. He said that music transcends all boundaries and barriers and touches directly hearts irrespective of linguistic or ethnic considerations.
The dignitaries of Doda town congratulated the Cultural Academy and its Secretary, Zaffar Manhas, for organizing purposeful programme at Doda with an avowed objective of promoting regional unity among different segments of the people of the State.
The programme was held to commemorate the 150 Adversary of first war of India’s Independence.

Efforts underway to conserve rich Bio-diversity of J&K

Refresher Course for effective Wildlife Management inaugurated
As part of the ongoing efforts for inspecting training and capacity building of the frontline staff of Forest and Wildlife Departments for effective wildlife management in the state, the department of Wildlife Protection is organizing two weeks refresher course for Range officers, Forest Protection Force Inspectors, Foresters and Forest Guards from today at Dachigam National Park.
Minister for Forests and Environment Mian Altaf Ahmad who was the chief guest on the function inaugurated the training programme today. Commissioner/Secretary Forest Mr. Shantmanu besides Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Mr. Irshad Ahmad Khan were also present on the occasion.
Mian Altaf while inaugurating the training programme expressed the necessity for organizing such programmes for effective wildlife management in the state. He highlighted the rich biodiversity of the region, stating that our state is famous in the world for its unending varieties of landscape, lush green forests and rich flora and fauna making it a paradise on earth. He said that the state was endowed with many rare and endangered species such as Hangul, Snow leopard, Chiru, Markhor, Musk Deer, Brown bear and Black necked crane which are pride of the state and warranted urgent conservation measures.
The Minister assured that the State Government will make all out efforts to strengthen the department through additional man-power, equipments, mobility, communication facilities, veterinary care and compensation package for effective control of wildlife crimes and handling of human-wild animal conflict situations.