By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 16 Jan: A two-day workshop of forest nodal officers of the states on forest fires was organised jointly by Forest Survey of India and Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry in the auditorium of Forest Survey of India, here. On the opening day of the workshop, Forest Minister Dr Harak Singh Rawat was the Chief Guest.
Speaking at the workshop, Forest Minister Rawat appealed to the nodal officers and scientists to preserve the bio-diversity in Uttarakhand and urged them to carry out experiments to check forest forests which adversely affected the plantation, wild life and water conservation. He said that effective steps were needed to check forest forests, as it greatly affected human life. He told the participating officers that bio-diversity in the hills comprised 28 per cent, which was two-thirds that of the entire country. He said that it would not be possible to check forest fires with 6000 forest staff and there was need to seek supporting people associated with social organisations in this task. He asked the officers to do hold discussions on steps to check forest fires.
On the question of farming and migration, he said there was need for constant research on these issues. Due to migration, farms lands were unused and everyone should contribute to save agriculture. He added that forest fires were human generated and there was need for awareness at the gram panchayat level. The Forest Minister also inaugurated “Version-3’ through which warning in different sectors could be easily issued. He said that for preservation and management of forests, various national programmes like Green India Mission, National Agriculture Forestry Nursery, Joint Forest Management and National Forestry programmes would be encouraged.
Dr Rakesh Shah, Chairman, Uttarakhand Bio-Diversity Board and PCCF, asked the officers to give their suggestions on checking forest fires. He said that, if Power and Forest Departments worked in cooperation on the ground, then incidents of forest fires could be checked. The Forest Survey of India was identifying areas which are prone to forest fires.
Dr Subhash Ashutosh, Director General, Indian Forest Survey, emphasised upon the officers and scientists of 16 states present at the workshop to work in cooperation to devise a strategy with state governments before the start of forest fire season. He also elaborated upon cooperation, awareness and Geo technique to control incidents of forest fires. DK Sinha, IG, Forests, said that efforts would be made to look for employment opportunities in the forests to strengthen the economy of the people so that they extend their support to forest departments in controlling forest fires. Meenakshi Joshi, Joint Director, gave information about the work being done by the Forest Survey of India.
In the next session of the workshop, the various kinds of equipment used in controlling forest fires was displayed at FRI. E Vikram, Assistant Director, Forest Survey of India conducted the workshop. On the first day of the two day workshop, Joint Director Sushant Sharma, scientist NRSC, Dr Raj Shekhar Reddy, Tanay Dass, Dr A Ramamurthi, Dr VM Dimri, Dr Sunil Chandra, AK Saxena, Vikas Gusain, Anupam Pal, Harshi Jain and officers of Forest Survey of India and nodal forest officers of different states participated in the workshop which will continue on Thursday.
By OUR STAFF REPORTER