September 16, 2020

Qayoom Wani voices serious concern over destruction of forests and environmental hazards, demands probe against top forest officers

Srinagar: Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Forum (JK CSF) Ab Qayoom Wani on Tuesday on Tuesday voiced his serious concern over the alleged ongoing destruction of environment and forests in Jammu & Kashmir and impressed upon the top authorities of the Jammu and Kashmir Government to stop this destruction and make the officers of the concerned departments accountable particularly the top brass of the forest department.
In a statement issued here on Tuesday Wani said that during last more than 6 months forests in J&K have been vandalised by notorious smugglers who are working in connivance with some officials of the forest department in many areas.
Alleging a massive deforestation in Pir Panjal Forest division , Doodh Ganga forest range of Yusmarg , Chenab region and areas of North Kashmir during COVID 19 pandemic, Wani said after post Article 370 abrogation lockdown huge no of green trees were axed in forests across J&K. Regretting that till date Govt has not made the Forest Officers accountable and the axe falls only on junior officers Wani said not even a single senior Forest officer has visited Doodh Ganga forest range to take stock of the destruction of Forests in the last 6 months which is a matter of serious concern.
He said job of forest officers’ is not to sit in cozy office chambers in Srinagar or Jammu but to conduct fid visits for the on spot inspections and alleged that illegal Kothas and illegal structures have been constructed in many areas of Doodh Ganga forest range during the last 2 months while poor shepherds (Chopans) are denied permission even for repairing their existing Kothas and huts damaged during snowfall last winter. Wani demanded action against officers who allow such illegal constructions. He also has expressed its concern over handing over mining contracts for sand excavation and stone quarrying across J&K to outside firms saying therein that this will make local people jobless as huge machines are used to excavate sand and bajri from rivers which is not environment friendly activity at all.

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