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J&K Biodiversity Council holds fourth meeting

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Jammu, Srinagar become 5th & 6th Cities in India to develop LBSAP

JAMMU: The 4th meeting of J&K Biodiversity Council was held Thursday at Forest Complex Van Bhawan, Jammu under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mohit Gera, PCCF (HoFF)/ Chairman Pollution Control Committee, J&K and Chairman J&K Biodiversity Council.

It was informed that smart cities of Jammu and Srinagar have become 5th & 6th cities in the country to have developed a Local Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan (LBSAP). These LBSAPs will act as a guiding tool for the city administrators and help them to strike a balance between developmental priorities and biodiversity conservation of the smart cities.

During the meeting, the Council was apprised of the progress achieved during the FY 2022-23, especially on documentation of biodiversity of J&K by updation of People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) in UT of Jammu & Kashmir for all the Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) which stand constituted in all the Rural and Urban Local Bodies.

It was further informed that updation of documentation of biodiversity of 2511 villages has been completed so far, while the target has been set to complete the process of updation of remaining villages during 2023-24 in consultation with the respective BMCs.

The Chairman also appraised the members on the steps taken for documentation of biodiversity in electronic format for which two workshops were organized in Jammu and Srinagar recently in collaboration with National Biodiversity Authority. The other important achievements apprised to the Council were geo-tagging & heritage registers for mighty Chinars, promotion of planting of Peepal and Bargad trees and release of several publications during the last year.

The other important agenda discussed during the meeting of the Council included the progress on preparation of Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan (BSAP) for UT of Jammu and Kashmir. He informed that the UT Level Plan is under the consideration of the Government and the Council made consultations with the concerned line departments to ensure that inputs from all departments are considered especially the stakeholder departments like Agriculture Department, Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Department of Horticulture, Department of Floriculture, Department of Fisheries, Department of Wildlife Protection, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department.

The Council also deliberated on steps taken for activation of Biodiversity Management Committees and their involvement in “Sustainable utilization & collection of Non-Timber Forest Produce” as sanctioned by the Government recently. The members took note of the efforts made towards creation of awareness through various training programmes organized at different levels across UT of Jammu and Kashmir during 2022-23 and advised to make efforts to activate the BMCs so that people can benefit especially in light of the recently sanctioned policy on NTFPs. Esteemed members of the Council advised for expediting signing of MoUs with SKUAST-K, IIIM-Jammu, and Universities of Kashmir and Jammu for taking the working of Biodiversity Council to next level. It was also decided to strengthen the efforts on Access & Benefit Sharing mechanism and intensify the efforts for training and awareness among the members of BMCs. Identification of Biodiversity Heritage Sites, Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) be also given priority by the Council.

The meeting was moderated by Asaf Mehmood Sagar, PCCF/ Member Secretary, J&K Biodiversity Council / Director, JK FRI. Other Members of the J&K Biodiversity Council who attended the meeting include Suresh Gupta, PCCF/ Chief Wildlife Warden, Wildlife Protection Department, representative of Administrative Department of Agriculture Production, T.K Bhat, Special Secretary, representative of Department of Forest, Ecology & Environment, Harpreet Kour, Special Secretary (Technical), representative of Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Waseem Raja, Addl. Secretary and non-official members of the Council Dr. C.M. Seth, IFS (Retd.) Eminent Wildlife Expert, Prof. Geeta Sumbli (Retd.) Mushroom Expert, Dr. Anzar Khuroo (Botanist), Department of Botany, University of Kashmir and Dr. Susheel Verma, Department of Botany, Jammu University. The staff of J&K Biodiversity Council also attended the meeting.

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