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PCCF discusses operationalisation of utilization of NTFP policy

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JAMMU: The Principal Chief Conservator of  Forests (PCCF) J&K Dr. Mohit Gera on Thursday chaired a meeting on operationalization of policy on “Sustainable Collection and Utilization of NTFP in J&K.

In his opening remarks Dr. Mohit Gera who is also Chairman J&K Biodiversity Council appraised that the new policy sanctioned by the Government of J&K is a landmark reform towards conservation, sustainable collection and utilization of forest produce and will enhance the livelihood opportunities of the forest dependent communities including tribal.

The PCCF highlighted the role of Democratic and Statutory Institutions especially the Biodiversity Management Committees and their empowerment through this progressive policy.

“The Forest department being the Nodal Agency for the implementation of the policy has a key role to play in collaboration with J&K Rural Livelihood Mission, Department of Tribal Affairs and J&K Skill Development Mission which includes value addition, value chain creation and development of market linkages,” he said.

During the meeting a detailed discussion was held with the stakeholder departments regarding the operational strategy as mentioned in the policy for involving local communities in sustainable collection and utilization of NTFP.

Dr. Gera, also shared that a committee has been constituted by the Forest Department to notify the areas that can be taken up for sustainable collection and utilization of specific NTFP for the year 2023-24 and informed that J&K Forest Development Corporation shall provide the electronic platform for the NTFP aggregators and Traders.

Mission Director Rural Livelihood Mission J&K Indu Kanwal Chib highlighted the role played by JKRLM in generating livelihood avenues of the people through SHGs and made a detailed presentation on the various initiatives taken to generate livelihood and extended her full support for the implementation of the new policy at the grass root level by involving these Women SHGs.

She also shared the information on the registered Self Help Groups of all districts of J&K for integration with the areas of sustainably available NTFP.

She also suggested having nodal officers from the Forest Department to help in implementation of the policy at the District level who would work in coordination with the District Programme Manager of JKRLM.

She further proposed to have ‘Van Sakhi’ in each village on the pattern of “Krishi Sakhi” & “Pashu Sakhi” who would be trained to deal with various issues at the village level in collaboration with the frontline staff of the Forest Department.

Deputy Director Tribal Affairs Jammu Dr. Abdul Khabir shared his inputs on the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras comprising 15 SHGs each, being established by Tribal Affairs Department for livelihood generation and role of these SHGs for the implementation of the new NTFP policy.

He also proposed strengthening the existing SHGs working with Rural Livelihood Mission instead of creating new SHGs. He further suggested a detailed mapping of NTFPs that can be sustainably utilized across UT of J&K.

“The Tribal Affairs Department (TAD) J&K will also help in arranging the necessary training to the SHGs and other stakeholders for the implementation of NTFP policy,” he said.

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