Dear Editor, It refers to highly irresponsible attitude of Jammu and Kashmir forest ministry, department and officials towards the far-flung areas especially Kishtwar district, wherein despite of Modi’s Ujjwala scheme people depend on wood for cooking their four time meals. The villages Gahan (Sarthal) and Shirote, Bimalnag (Saroor) in Kishtwar district have been losing the forest covers very fast due to people’s dependence on forest for various daily needs. The people also need timber to keep them warm during the winters as they have to face snowfall from December to March every year. Since last thirty years, there has been a huge deforestation in the areas that made the soil prone to various disasters particularly landslides, floods. Historically, despite of natural scenic and cultural beauty of the places, the administration has shown very less concern to explore them as tourist spots also. The people from adjunct towns often visit the places to enjoy the cool weather during the summer. Secondly, the deforestation and haunting during the winters has affected the meadow of various animals like wild goat, Bear, Leopard, wild cow, Deer etc. The village Gahan specifically can be seen the most vulnerable to landslide and flood due to its hilly location and loose and sandy soil. There is a high risk of soil erosion and mountain cracking during the rainy season. Therefore, the government should go ahead for reforestation from time to time in all these areas to compensate the loss of trees by locals for their daily needs. It will save the nature and it’s sustainability for a secure human life. In spite of waiting for any disaster to happen the administration should intervene quickly to ensure the security and safety of the people. There should be a forest Chouki (comprising of some forest officials) established to look after the forests and wild life in the areas. Law must be tightened for implementing forest provisions to protect forests, wild life and ultimately the human life. This will also help Shirote and Bimal Nag to maintain and explore their tourist potentiality based on natural and scenic beauty. Otherwise the naked hills also affect the daily moment of people. Many people have lost their precious lives due to land sliding, mountain falling etc. Hakim Singh, Deptt. of Public Policy and Public Administration, Central University of Jammu.
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