Recently J&K Forest Department has initiated a new scheme “One Beat Guard-One Village” to broaden the scope and to give soul to its greening efforts. It is low cost innovative method of greening with the involvement of all the stakeholders especially Panchayats,BMCs,JFMs,NGOs and other social and government institutions and departments. This is objectively taken in practice by the involvement of local communities and their local governing institutions to envisage and cover 1000 villages under low cost greening interventions. One Beat Guard is responsible to achieve the desired and well planned goal of the Deptt and shall cover one revenue village in achieving his objectives of greening that area and all his or her efforts and operations shall carry out with the collaboration and coordination of respective Village Panchayats/BMCs etc and should monitor same for next 3 to 5 years. So that , maximum survival and growth these plantations and growing seedlings sown during drive can be protected for better survival and growth. Department has issued objectives and clear guidelines to make these Programs successful. These objectives are targeted to get them achieved within the stipulated period of time from top to bottom level of the hierarchy of the Department. Following are objectives,which are in desire and well planned to get them achieved to see the greeny future of J&K.
1. To employ low cost greening methods for greening of non-forest areas.
2. To facilitate raising of trees and grasses on the community lands by the local communities for their benefit.
3. To facilitate meeting the needs of the people for small timber, fuel-wood and grasses from non-forest lands.
4. To reduce the pressure on the Forests on account of grazing by increasing the production of the grass & fodder outside the forest area.
5. To standardize the modalities on involvement of different stakeholders viz. Panchayats, JFMs, BMCs, NGOs etc
6. To promote Agroforestry.
These objectives clearly indicate that Forestry has come with new methods, initiatives and techniques. Now, the involvement of different stakeholders, Panchayats, BMCs, JFMs etc indicates scope of the forestry has broaden from Forest department to the all people of the globe. New innovative methods will prove to be beneficial for the poor local communities and will generate awareness among the masses regarding importance and values of Forests. It is the awareness of the people towards the values and importance of Forests, which can prove to be an effective tool in protection scenario of the Department. Clear and open areas of forest and non-forest patches of land available in the areas in the form of Kahcharai and other common lands with Panchayats which requires rejuvenation and planting with grass, fodder and multipurpose tree species, which are targeted to get them planted and to provide means of lively to the local people in form of plantations of grass, fodder, fuel wood and timber species. Such lands can be covered with the involvement of PRIs, BMCs by providing them with seed balls/naked root plants of these species. It has been targeted by the Forest Deptt ,during the current year about 1000 villages shall be covered under the program in all districts of J&K. Each territorial Forest Division shall adopt 35 revenue villages for planting material worth Rs 0.01 lakh, which include 600 saplings and 2000 seed balls including 1000 seed balls of grass species per village to be planted maintained and protected by PRIs/BMCs and local people.
J&K greening (Har Gawoon Haryali) mission is really credible and appreciable involving all spheres of administration and local communities and their governing Institutions like Panchayats,BMCs, etc. In all these efforts role of Beat Guard is most credible task.
The saplings will consist of fruit, fiber, fodder,fuelwood and timber species of trees and seed balls will consist of fodder & legume species. Seed ball sowing method is an affordable , Sustainable & effective Conservation tool for establishing vegetation in difficult areas and is an effective means of fast plantation by encasing the seeds in a mixture of common soil and compost. Objective of providing saplings is to diversify and promote Agroforestry. It is crucial to small land holding farmers and other rural people because it can enhance their food supply ,income and health. This integrated approach can contribute to small land holders food security and capacity to adopt to climate change, while the same time increasing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes and contributing to climate change mitigation. Agroforestry is as such multifunctional systems that can provide a wide range of economic ,socio-cultural and environmental benefits. Under this scheme, it is credibility of our Department to frame plans and to make objectives to achieve the goal in scientific and Sustainable manner. Keeping in view local needs and involvement is extremely credible. Plantations in the premises of local and government institutions is extremely good step. Each Forest Division was given guidelines to achieve the task and then each Forestry Division with help of concerned Range administration put up the efforts and capabilities of field territorial staff to collaborate with local people and with their local governing institutions to make the Programs successful. In Forest Division Bandipora, Seedlings and saplings were provided with clear guidelines to the forest field staff, whom in their respective jurisdictions selected sites with help of local communities and made the Programs successful. Shabir Ahmad Bhat-DFO Bandipora with his headquarters Range officer personally monitored and participated in the Programs. Biggest plantation drive was held in NHPC Ltd Bandipora, were about 800 saplings were planted. At last, we concluded that J&K greening (Har Gawoon Haryali) mission is really credible and appreciable involving all spheres of administration and local communities and their governing Institutions like Panchayats,BMCs, etc. In all these efforts role of Beat Guard is most credible task. Now, it time to continue such efforts and to seek grievances and suggestions in favour and against in implementation of this scheme. For example, things lacking in such greening efforts needs to be checked. Selection of sites and training to the local communities and people involved in such plantation Programs should be previously well trained to add soul to these Programs. Need of ventilators during COVID times gave great lessons and need and importance of Forests and such Programs can help us to recover natural ventilation, what the Forests provide. With the passage of time in future,it can help our country to increase GDP rate by providing means of livelihood and fooder for domesticated animals.
(Author works in the Forest Department and is General Secretary of NGFOA Bandipora. Views are exclusively his own)