Demarcate the forest land

Greater Kashmir

Editorial

Demarcate the forest land

Srinagar,

Jun 27 2018

Demarcation of the forest land has cost the state dearly. The state does not figure among the top fifteen green states of India as per the recent study of Forest Survey of India. This has happened for the first time in state’s history. Several years ago, a proposal for demarcation of forest land in Jammu Kashmir was put forth. However, the very idea, it seems, has been abandoned for unknown reasons.

The results are obvious. Thousands of kanals of forest land have been encroached by land mafia and the government has failed to retrieve the land. At several places artificial boundaries are erected around the forests but it has not helped much. The temporary boundaries can be altered with ease and that is what is happening across the state. According to data obtained from the forest department, half of forest land in the state is not demarcated. An official ascribed the reason of frequent fires to un-demarcated land. According to him, the forest fires shall register a decline if the land is properly demarcated and the civilian population kept out of the green area.

The state has a recorded forest area of 23241 square kilometres. This constituted around 11% of the total area of 101387 square kilometres. The states that have made it to the top fifteen have more than 33% forest area. Lakshadweep tops the list with 90% green cover followed by Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur with 86.27%, 81.73%, 79.96% and 77.69% respectively. Experts believe that the diminishing forest area will spill disaster sometime in the future. So, preventive measures have to be taken now. The encroached forest land needs to be retrieved as soon as possible. T

he forest land has to be demarcated necessarily everywhere in the state. The people have to be made aware of the importance of preservation and protection of forests.

In fact, this must start at the school level. Much damage has already been done. However, it is never too late to mend. The damage control can be done now if the authorities wake up.