As a sequel to his endeavour of identification and preservation of natural water bodies in the State, Minister for Forest, Ecology & Environment, Choudhary Lal Singh today visited various water bodies in Samba and Kathua districts. MLA Hiranagar Kuldeep Raj also accompanied the Minister during the visit. “Shrinking water resources is the biggest challenge facing the world and it is firm commitment of present dispensation to explore the natural water resources for its restoration and preservation”, the Minister maintained. The Minister, while spelling out the Government’s initiatives in this regard, emphasized the role of people in maintaining and preserving the traditional water resources. He appealed the people to make judicious use of water as this is of utmost importance in view of decreasing water level. He asked them to also raise awareness among their wards about the significance of saving water for their own future. Lal Singh visited several water bodies in Gurha Slathian, Kehli Mandi, Bhalgocha Chack, Gura Beldara, Talli village, Chandma Balahar, Garh Chappar, village Buddhi, Logate Barwal, Janglote, Kalibari, Khorote and opposite area of Chenab Textile Mill and inspected the on-going renovation work of ponds besides, inspecting nurseries and forest closures in the localities. The Minister, while visiting these areas, directed the officers to see that all these water bodies are developed so that these can serve as a good source of water supply to the respective areas. He also asked them to take up desilting works of these resources and also start fencing and plantation work in the State land surrounding the water bodies. He also asked them to ensure that these works are done in a speedy manner so that the rain water can be stored properly in these water bodies in view of ongoing monsoon season. Emphasizing on massive afforestation, the Minister directed officers to take anticipatory measure and plant the saplings on open chunk of forest land in order to check encroachments. Choudhary Lal Singh directed the DFOs to closely monitor the activities launched by the department in the area so that the purpose of the schemes was attained. He directed officers to use the funds judiciously sanctioned under CAMPA. Principal Chief Conservator Forests, A.K. Singh, Chairman Pollution Control Board Ravi Kessar, Chief Conservator of Forests Roshan Jaggi, Chief Conservator of Forests Eco tourism and Wild Life A. K Gupta besides District Soil Conservation Officer, Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) of Territorial and Wild Life Protection Department accompanied the Minister. Later, the Minister chaired a meeting of Social Forestry and Soil Conservation to review the functioning of both the departments in Samba and Kathua districts. He asked the officers to formulate a comprehensive plan for massive plantation on forest land in both the districts. Reviewing the functioning of Soil Conservation Department, the Minister asked the authorities to activate their men and machinery for completion of all ongoing projects in a time bound manner so that State’s green gold is protected and preserved. Stressing for proper upkeep of newly planted trees, the Minister asked the functionaries to depute forest protection officials for the purpose who will be accountable to this task. He cautioned that dereliction of duty would not be tolerated and action under law would be taken against the erring officials.
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