STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Even though the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing unprecedented increase in the incidents of forest fires in comparison to previous years the funds allocated for forest fire management are dwindling.
Ironically, the funds sanctioned for the purpose have not even been spent to contain the forest fires in time.
According to the Minister-in-charge Forest Department, Rs 10.50 lakh were released for forest fire management in 2016-17 but only Rs 1.13 lakh were spent during the same period.
According to him, 781 incidents of forest fire were reported till December 2016. Out of these 289 fire incidents were reported in Kashmir while 492 incidents were reported in Jammu region affecting 2556.319 hectares of area.
The Minister also informed that in view of the global changes that are taking place, the Department has formulated a Fire Management Plan for Rs 52.88 crore for implementation during three years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 under World Bank Jhelum Tawi Flood Management Project.
The minister claimed that 2016 was an extra ordinary year in the sense that snow fall in the last winter has been nominal and this has been followed by a long uninterrupted dry spell which has broken the records of decades. The fire incidents have been restricted and doused in time by the timely action taken by the field functionaries, the minister informed.
The minister also informed the house that the incidents of man-animal conflict has increased in the State. While 26 deaths and injuries to 284 people reported in 2015-16, 17 deaths and injuries to 232 were reported in 2014-15. The minister said the cases were increasing owing to the demission in forest cover, change in land use topography, grazing in forest areas, fragmentation of natural habitats, decreasing prey base and biotic interface in habitats of wild animals. However, such cases are gradually coming down because of the measures taken by the department in the recent years. He said Rs 2.85 crore have been spent on settling the cases of deaths and injuries to victims man-animal conflict in the past two years.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper