Encouraging people for sustainable management of forests, Sinha emphasised on striking a balance between society and environment for a healthy ecosystem and a strong economy.
“Healthy forests are the key to healthy living of people and it should be our topmost priority to safeguard these precious natural resources. Every element produced by nature nourishes us.
“Since time immemorial, the health and well-being of humans, animals and environment around us are interlinked,” Sinha said.
Sinha was attending a Forest, Ecology and Environment department event on the International Day of Forests here.
“Let us rededicate ourselves to protect nature and conserve forests with the spirit of ‘One World, One Health’,” he said.
Sinha directed the Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission to launch a ‘Van Sakhi Yojana’ in coordination with the Forest department for the socio-economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs associated with the sector.
He also asked the department and other stakeholders to ensure that the policy on ‘Sustainable Utilisation of Non-Timber Forest Produce in J-K’ is fully operationalised on the ground to maximise its benefits to the people, especially women and tribal communities.
Sinha emphasised on promoting high-value forest produce such as the Gucci mushroom and the Artemisia herbal plant that can be found in abundance in Jammu and Kashmir to improve the quality of life of the forest-dependent population without harming the green lands.
He also highlighted the efforts made in the last two years for the protection of natural resources and extending economic benefits, livelihood and entrepreneurship opportunities to tribal families.
“Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a large population of our tribal families dependent on the forests have been granted their forest rights for which they have been waiting for years,” he said.
Sinha also directed the Tribal Affairs department and the district administration to work on a mission mode to grant individual rights under the Forest Rights Act and establishment of ‘Van Dhan Kendras’.
With over 55 per cent green cover, Jammu and Kashmir is ahead of many other states and Union Territories, he added.
“We must move ahead with the mantra of ‘Panch Karma’ — the five major goals for the next year. The non-timber forest produce scheme must encourage associated self-help groups and communities to work on the conservation of forests and plantations,” he said.
He added that forest-related education in schools and participation of students in plantation drives must be ensured.
Sinha said the inclusion of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the ‘Van Se Jal and Jal Se Jeevan’ programme will make a greater impact in the campaign for conservation of natural resources.
“We have to make the re-forestation campaign a mass movement,” the Lt Governor added.