JOINT FOREST MANAGEMENT
A wave of liberalisation is sweeping though the forests of Indian subcontinent which were earlier strictly under the control and surveillance of forest department with the passage of time, need was felt to throw them open to the local communities to protect and share the benefits accruing there from to the locals. This was necessitated for the better management of forests.
Behind this belated realisation, it was deeply thought that without willing and active participation of the communities who are over the ages traditionally basic custodian and dependent upon forest for their food, fuel and folder requirements.
No amount of coercion and draconian laws can save the forest which are increasingly shrinking both in terms of density of crop.
The time for changing the entire concept of forest management becomes necessary owing to ever shrinkage of forest cover particularly in mountains and hills where the forest are on higher risk of decimation and dendation due to commercial exploitation. Though the fact goes that supreme court of India has put a blanket ban on fellings, particularly those which are in standing form. With the growing disenchantment among the rural masses turning into violent clashes at many a places, the need to involve a local masses in the conservation and protection of the dwindling forest cover and other natural resources was ultimately realised.
What began in most of states particularly, west Bengal which is predominantly an exceptional example in 1972 which has now been incorporated an official policy.
The criticism of hard-core skepts and eco-pupendits remained as ever before.
The miraculous turnaround was as a request of community participation in broader spectrum and administrative steadfastness in protecting scarce natural resources. The credit of course, goes to forest legislation of Joint Forest management (JFM), local villagers and above all forest dependent communities who in unison become the most respectable partners of the state in protecting vulnerable natural resources, thereby averting ecological disaster.
With well stocked of forests ripped out for timber and firewood, the forest contractors illegally diverted truck loads to feed the demands for the plains devouring whatever was left starring straightway at catastrophe.
The fueling matters were damaging operations in west Bengal forest corporation which had enjoyed two decades of legal access to Darjeeling timber.
The West Bengal development corporation (WBFDC) was finally wounded up for back in 1992, returning forest management in Darjeeling and Kursong Forest Division to the forest directorate.
Even the current basic requirement for fuel and fodder are proving too much for long term sustainability of the forests.
Aroung 35,000 hectares of well preserved wildlife habitat are endangered two wildlife sanctuaries and two national parks forming the Protected Area Network (PAN) home to a variety of fauna which include black bear, Barking deer and endangered Red Panda. Ivoncally, the open forest which have already depleted , PAN faces the specter of disaster.
By entrusting the the well beings of forests to the locals, JFM has been able to draw on a ready source of manpower to maintain dwindling forests.
In addition, Joint patrolling with foresters has helped to a larger extent to discard many misgivings about the department.
Jammu & Kashmir made a big leap in introducing Joint Forest management (JFM) where village communities were involved with the formulation of the village development committees. All these enduring efforts, ofcourse, revealed successfully orientation with rich results.
J&K is beset with lush green vibrant forest which warrant preservation, protection and propogatoon. The tempo of development warrents to sccelerated exemplifying over Indian horizon. Let us be the fore-runner in greening owe wastelands including road ways, railway tracks, canal schools and other institutions and all other barren lands so that J&K becomes neat clean and green.
Promoting preserving/protecting our forest mean a welcome reception to the tourists. No denying the fact that J&K is on top slot.
It is irony that Jammu and Ladakh have had always been the back benchers. Bhadarwah valley also nomenclaturesed as Chotta Kashmir is no way less than Kashmir and even across the Globe, Jammu region is famous for temple tourism owing to existence of sacred spots which do deserve their protion. Black deodar of Chenab valley have their own distinction found nowhere except Germany. The sacred cave of Shri Mata vaishno Devi is world renowned where pilgrims over lakhs pay obience for blessings. Apart from there are listless pilgrimage spots sprawling over the length and bredth of J&K which do deserve development promotion, propagation to larger extent.
The tourists industry attract visitors from across the globe. Many bollywood stars have shooted many films in the valley of Kashmir, Patnitop and of course in Bhadarwah valley. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been emphasizing on environmental and tourism potential.
These twin aspect warrant to be prioritised so as to promote tourism apart from opening the employment fronts. This shall go a long way in improving the economy of Jammu & Kashmir, The crown of Mother India.
By G.L Khajuria