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Forest encroachments, smuggling to be curbed with iron hands: Lal Singh

Minister of Forests, Environment and Ecology Choudhary Lal Singh today asked the officers of Forest Department to put their sincere efforts for stopping encroachments of forest land and smuggling of timber and fire wood, adding that it is the prime duty of every individual, as the forests are important for maintaining ecological balance and safe and secure environment. The Minister was addressing a gathering of officers of Forest and its allied departments at Forest Guard Training School, Doomi in Akhnoor, here today. Principal Secretary Forests Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A K Singh besides Directors and Chief Conservators of various wings of the Forest Department, District Officers and Rangers of Jammu province were present on the occasion. Terming discipline and decorum as key ingredients to achieve success in an organization, the Minister exhorted upon newly recruited Forest Guards to discharge their duties with honesty and dedication. He advised them to imbibe values of life which will serve as proper guide for them to perform their duties efficiently and effectively. He highlighted the importance of practical and skill development training for real growth and development. He asked the recruits to uphold the sanctity of their profession and work as a team. Underscoring the need for taking concrete measures for conservation of rich environs of the State, Choudhary Lal Singh stressed on the concerned authorities to initiate all possible steps for safeguarding the green economy of the State. He said that Government is committed to safeguard rich environment and ecology of the State, adding that in this regard several initiatives are under way. The Minister asked the officers to create awareness among the general public for saving the natural resources of the State. He said Green Gold is the backbone of the State for preserving our nature and culture in general and tourism in particular and will lead to better economy. He said on this day every one must take pledge and help in promoting green economy. Warning the smugglers, Choudhary Lal Singh said nobody will be allowed to play havoc with the forests as well as the wild animals and birds and stringent action will be initiated against the erring persons. He also instructed the officers to furnish the lists of revenue officers/officials who make illegal entries of the forest land so that culprit be booked under law. Responding to various demands of officers and officials of the Forest Department, the Minister said that Government is quite aware of the problems being faced by them and several steps are underway to redress their grievances as soon as possible. Later, Choudhary Lal Singh distributed appointment orders to 15 unemployed next of kin of those who expired during their services. He distributed mementos and certificates to Rangers, Foresters, Forest Guards and helpers who performed best in their duties.