The Forest Department of J&K has initiated making fuel briquettes from Chir pine needles which are available in plenty in Chir forests during summer.
A program cum awareness campaign on “Livelihood generation: Pine needle to Bio briquettes” was inaugurated by Dr. Mohit Gera, Pr. Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), J&K at Forest Information Centre, Bikram Chowk Jammu. The program was attended by 25 numbers of women Self-Help Groups. The dry & fallen leaves of ChirPine trees are one of the major causes of forest fires which adversely impact the protection & conservation efforts of the Forest Department.
Forest department carry out control burning of Chir Pine needles for prevention of forest fires which leads to Carbon dioxide emissions which add to global warming. Hence, the forest department has initiated utilization of Chir Pine needles for various eco-friendly products with active involvement of Self-Help Groups. Forest department, in collaboration with IIT Roorkee is establishing Five “Bio briquetting machines” in Nowshera Forest Division to be utilized by women SHGs for production of fuel briquettes which have high demand in market.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Mohit Gera, PCCF (HoFF), J&K informed that Forest department is working towards the priority of the government on creation of livelihoods, and introduction of briquette making machines is a step towards this direction particularly for women SHGs. He also informed that the process of converting Chir Pine needles into a useful resource for energy has great potential to not only provide income generating opportunities to the local communities but also to mitigate forest fires & climate change. This initiative of bio briquetting through manually driven machines and other such interventions have also immense potential for forest improvement and active involvement of people in forest management. He also informed that the Forest Department plans to scale up these initiatives.
Sh. K. Ramesh Kumar, Chief Conservator Forests Jammu, said that a pilot project is being initiated in Nowshera Forest Division, for generation of livelihood for locals by engaging them in briquette making and increasing their participation in Forest management, and protection besides making them stakeholders in promoting the environmental cause.
Divisional Forest Officer, Neelima Shah gave a detailed description on the pilot project to be run at Nowshera Forest Division.
The demonstration and detailed presentation of the bio- briquetting machine was given by Dr. Rajat Agrawal and Dr. Vinay Sharma, Professors of department of Management Studies, IIT Roorkee especially to women SHGs participating in the event. They informed the participants that the machine is completely eco-friendly as it does not use any fuel or electricity and does not create any carbon footprint while operating. The portable machines designed by IIT Roorkee are easy to use besides posing no risk to its operator and surrounding. Briquettes made out of it are blocks of “compressed pine needles” used as alternative fuel for cooking or heating purposes. They will have high demand in cold areas like Kashmir Valley.
It is noteworthy to mention that in last few months J&K department has taken many initiatives to connect the forests management with the lives of common people by means of promoting eco-tourism, trekking through the pristine forests, plantation in PRIs/local & religious institutions, campaign on “Har Gaon Haryali”, opening of Forest Huts for public, imparting training to women Self-Help Groups in making of handicrafts utilizing Chir Pine needles etc.
Conservator of Forests West Circle, Rajouri, Vivek Verma, presented the vote of thanks to PCCF (HOFF) J&K,CCF Jammu, Professors of IIT Roorkee, women Self-Help Groups, representatives of PRIs, Officers of Forest Department. He also acknowledged the teamwork by DFO Nowshera for initiating the bio pine briquette making intervention in Nowshera.