Jammu And Kashmir To Buy Land To Protect Forests

20 August 2009

Not Specified: To reduce human interference in forests, the Jammu and Kashmir government is thinking of buying private plots located between protected forests. A proposal has been moved by the forest department suggesting that the private plots in areas where human habitation was damaging forests be purchased and trees be planted there. An estimated 15,000 hectares of such land has been identified. “There could be two options,” an official of the forest department said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. “Either the residents of such places are given alternate plots and money to construct new houses elsewhere, or they are asked to sell the land at market rates.” The proposal is likely to be sent to the state cabinet soon. Apart from those who own plots between protected forests, there are encroachers on 143 sq. km of protected forest land, the official said. “It would be a first step in removing the ever-increasing human interference in the forests, for these people fell trees and use them as firewood and also hurt the growth of fresh forests,” the official said.