Press Trust of India

Civilian killings won’t trample democracy: Bhupender Yadav

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Srinagar: Union Minister Bhupender Yadav on Thursday said the people of Kashmir are against violence and the recent spate of civilian killings will not break their morale nor will it trample the country’s democracy.
Speaking to reporters here, Yadav the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said the killings of two teachers in Eidgah locality of the city earlier in the day were unfortunate.
“It is unfortunate and painful. Those killed were innocent. If some mischievous elements, at the behest of Pakistan, think that they can break the morale of anyone, or trample the country’s democracy through violence, or impact the lives of the people through violence, then they are misunderstood,” he said.
A woman principal and a teacher were shot dead at point blank range inside a government school in the heart of the city on Thursday, taking to seven the number of civilians killed by militants in Kashmir Valley in five days.
Yadav said the Centre, the LG’s administration and local officers are taking cognizance of such incidents.
“The people of Kashmir are also against the violence,” he said.
The minister was here as part of the Centre’s outreach programme for Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked about the proposed amendments to the Forest Conservation Act, and CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat’s letter to him on Wednesday, Yadav said the Centre was not diluting the Act.
“We are not diluting the Act. We have kept the issue before the people. I want to tell you that a meeting of the National Wildlife Board took place recently. We have sanctioned eight proposals for the rural areas of Kashmir. Drinking water, roads, schools are reaching the villages, in the forest areas.
“The issue only is how the poor will get relief… There is no diversion of forests and we have not yet framed them, we have sought public opinion. Let her (Karat) also put her viewpoint. A decision will be taken after discussing every opinion,” the union minister said.
The Environment Ministry has proposed to amend the Act to do away with the requirement of prior government approval for the development of border infrastructure on forest land, saying it causes delay in the implementation of critical projects.
On October 2, it had invited suggestions from states, union territories and all people concerned on the consultation paper on the proposed amendments in the Act, within the next 15 days.
The minister inaugurated a one day workshop on Forests, Biodiversity and Climate Change-‘Sharing Knowledge and Actions’ at SKICC here.
Speaking during the inaugural session of the workshop, Yadav said that biodiversity will be conserved only when we strengthen the local community. He added that conservation of forests and local community are deeply interconnected and therefore it is important to strengthen the local community for conservation of biodiversity.
The Union Minister said that the PRI institutions and other local community representatives should be involved in their respective areas for preservation of biodiversity.
The Minister appreciated the role of Forest and sister Departments and advised them to involve the last person in delivering mechanism so that the participation of the most deprived is ensured for the success of biodiversity conservation. He lauded the efforts of the Forest Department for constituting the Biodiversity Management Committees and linking them with the Village Panchayats.
The Minister further said that MoEF&CC is working on getting the international recognition for 14 Tiger Reserves and sacrifices of Forest personnel in conservation of tiger shall also be recognized. He also lauded the efforts of Forest Department for taking initiates towards strengthening the frontline forest force, and also appreciated the film “Jungle Ke Rakhwale” focusing on their sacrifices.
While referring to the workshop on Forests, Biodiversity and Climate Change, Yadav highlighted the achievements of India towards meeting her Nationally Determined Contributions, achievements in International Solar Alliance as well as in renewable energy. He also highlighted the National Hydrogen Mission launched by PM for substantially increasing the scope of alternative energy. He advised distinguished delegates of the workshop, experts as well as participants from research institutes and the field to work towards innovative solutions so that the balance between development and conservation is always maintained.
During the workshop, a compendium on “Foresters Training Course” as well as brochure on “Protection and Conservation of Water Bodies: Use of Bio-Fencing and Catchment Area Treatment” was also released by the Minister. Also a short film titled “Jungle Ke Rakhwale” which shows the challenges faced by the front line forest staff and depict their hard duties and sacrifices was also released and showcased on the occasion.
Earlier, the Union Minister visited the stalls established by Forest Department. He encouraged the young volunteers of the NGOs as well as the researchers to actively work towards finding innovative solutions to protect the unique biodiversity of Jammu and Kashmir.
On the occasion, the Minster also planted a Chinar sapling in the lawns of SKICC.
Later, the Union Minister chaired a meeting with the senior officers of the forest department and reviewed the functioning and progress achieved under different schemes by the department.


Press Trust of India

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