An allocation of about Rs 200.76 crore has been made for Forest, Ecology and Environment Sector under Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) for the year 2022-23 which is Rs 9.01 crore more than the previous year’s budget allocation.

Jammu and Kashmir has 20,194 sq km of forest area which is 47.80% of its geographical area with 55% forest and tree cover and 43% open forest. Besides, having the maximum number of forest types, J&K also has the highest biodiversity of herbs in the country. Economically, the forests in Jammu and Kashmir generate 2 million man-days of employment and has a monetary value equivalent to Rs 1.93 lakh crore.

The ‘Har Gaon Hariyali’ program in consonance with the vision of ‘Green Jammu and Kashmir’ drive is to ensure sustainable development and promote climate justice which will help increase the Carbon Stock especially in villages located near degraded forests.

1.35 crore plantations are targeted during 2022-23, out of which 26.50 lakh plants will be planted with active involvement of Village Panchayat Plantation Committees (VPPCs) to create green assets in Gram Panchayats. To ensure widespread people’s participation in government-sponsored plantation drives, the government will adopt a multi-disciplinary convergence model linking school-level eco clubs, Village Panchayat Plantation Committees and MGNREGA works to various plantation and protection drives.

The biggest achievement under Har Gaon Hariyali is that a massive convergence programme is taking place by dovetailing funds under MG-NREGA and the afforestation programme of the forest department. Under low-cost mode of greening and increasing the forest and tree cover, more than 50 lakh seeds/grass-slips are likely to be planted during the year 2022-23.

Under “One Beat Guard One Village” programme, 1500 villages will be taken up for greening of lands outside forests in 2022-23 by providing free saplings, seeds balls and grass slips to Village Panchayats for planting on village common land, kahcharai and other wastelands.

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 villages under low-cost greening interventions.

One Beat Guard is responsible to achieve the desired and well-planned goal 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.

As an effort for conservation and promotion of Chinar, more than 20,000 Chinar trees will be planted in 2022-23. A non-motorable walkway is also proposed to be developed around Wular lake which will add scenic beauty to the water body and help in preventing encroachment.

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