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Visit of the Hon'ble Minister of Forest and Wildlife

Mr. Lal Chand Kataruchak, Cabinet Minister, Department of Forest and Wildlife Protection hold a meeting with the senior officers of the Forest Department at Forest Complex, Mohali, and reviewed the functioning of the department. The Hon'ble minister said that the target was to increase the area under forests and trees in the state of Punjab to 7.5% of the total area of the state by the year 2030. To achieve the goal and to make Punjab a greener state, about 1.15 core saplings would be planted by the forest department during the year 2022-23. Out of these, about 60 lakh saplings will be planted on forest land as per requirement and about 55 lakh saplings by farmers and people.

Apart from this, the common land of the aspiring panchayats would be procured through the forest wants-you-to-return-to-post-off development corporation and plans have also been made to get the khair trees planted in the panchayat area. Likewise, a new project related to wood seasoning would be set up to enhance the quality of wood, he added.

The minister directed all the officers to pay attention to the problems of the common man and the field officers must spend as much time in the field as possible. He said the department had also launched a toll-free help desk number 1800 180 2323 for the convenience of the people and an online portal to facilitate transparency in the process of issuing permits to the owners of the Kandi area. Kataruchak said a procedure would be formulated to remove illegal occupants from forest lands in the state. He directed to take initiative to start a timber market in the state to respond to the agro-forestry and to give a fair price to the farmers for the trees planted by them.

Additional chief secretary for forests Seema Jain IAS said the work of digitization of forest boundaries would be started on a war footing so that the incidents of illegal encroachments and mining in the forests could be stopped. The minister also launched surveillance drones and directed to use of drones and modern techniques to curb forest crimes, like deforestation and illegal mining.

An Awareness session on Reptiles/ Snakes

The Ropar wildlife division, department of forests and wildlife preservation, Punjab, conducted a training on snakes and reptile encounters for residents of ATS Mohali on Sunday. After a series of snake sighting and potential life threatening incidences. this workshop was expected to help dwellers to act appropriately and not to panic in such dire situation. The two-hour workshop was held at the Club House of ATS. Mohali was conducted by the wildlife experts where they explained the reasons of reptile and snake sighting suitable actions to be taken and strategies and ways to avoid such encounters.

Dr. Monika yada, DFO Wildlife, Ropar said she had received a request for guidance and help and she feels honored to help the citizens with the best of the resources., Dr Yadav also emphasized that snakes are not enemies of the mankind, but it's the mankind who misunderstands them. People are unaware of reptile behavior and see them as venomous creatures with maleficent intentions always looking out to bite humans or swallow their pets, which, in fact is a highly conditioned myth. She said "with or without snake-sighting we should be well aware of our surroundings as well as animal behavior because whether we want or not, we have to share this planet with them and they are as vital as the mankind."

The beginning of the series of advanced workshop on snake's/reptiles man/hood- depicts the age old conflict between humans and snakes and that the manhood demands a compassionate thought through, educated and fair attitude towards snakes that are killed only due to our lack of knowledge and right conduct, " the DFO added. Honorary wildlife warden Nikhil Sanger educated the society residents about human snake conflicts and the various factors behind it.

World Forestry Day

Shri Anandpur Sahib: 21 March: Ropar Division of Department of Forests and Wildlife hosted a plantation drive in Jhajjar Bichauli Wildlife Sanctuary on World Forestry Day. On this occasion, saplings were planted to make the sanctuary denser and resourceful for wild animals. Shri Manish Tewari, Member of Parliament, Shri Anandpur Sahib and Shri Rana K. P. Singh, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha joined this drive and inspired others to do their bit for the conservation of environment. On this occasion, Dr Monika Yadav, IFS, DFO Rupnagar, who addressed the queries and concerns of the villagers, motivated them to be the guardian of their surroundings to fight against environment depletion.

Shri Manish Tewari declared the sanctuary as Plastic Free Zone and emphasised on the right conduct of humans with respect to nature and our waste generation. He said that plastic is a slow poison and we should not litter the nature with it. Shri Rana K. P. Singh, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha launched the work of borewell in an inauguration ceremony. This dedicated water resource will supply water for wild animals to carb the impact of harsh summers. While praising the department, he said that this sanctuary is instrumental being surrounded by holy pilgrimages of Shri Anandpur Sahib and Naina Devi and thus the efforts by the department are commendable. Shri Ramesh Chand Dasgarain Chairman, District Planning Board, Rupnagar and Shri Harbans Lal Mehandali, Chairman, Market Committee, Shri Anandpur Sahib also planted the trees.

Spread across the area of 116 Hectare, Jhajjar Bachauli Wildlife Sanctuary is home to animals like Barking Deer, Sambhar, Wild Boar, Jackal etc. along with hundreds of species of birds like like Grey partridge, Red Wetteled, Cap wing, Rose Ringed, Para Hut, Hoopee, Indian Peafowl. Dr Monika Yadav, IFS, DFO Rupnagar said that the department is keen to develop the area for the wildlife and is hoping that the density will increase manyfold in coming years. She also said that there are plans to add some features to attract the nature lovers who can come and appreciate the area.

Wildlife Day

Ropar Wildlife Division organizes Trek-a-thon at Siswan Community Reserve

Rupnagar: March 03: Ropar Wildlife Division, Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation, Punjab organized trek-a-thon, a walk in the forests of Siswan on the occasion of World Wildlife Day on 3rd March. More than 300 people of various walks of life participated in this trekking event that were held on 3 different thematic tracks namely Sentience Path, Serenity Path and Nature Trail of 2.25 KM, 3 KM & 5.5 KM respectively near Siswan Dam. Dr Monika Yadav, DFO, Ropar said that a trek-a-thon is a small effort to raise awareness about Wildlife and its importance. “This place is an interesting destination for nature lovers who are in the search of peace and tranquility or for those adventurous beings who are on the look-out for some nature exploration”, she said.

Chief Guest of the event Mr R. K. Mishra, Chief Wildlife Warden expressed his gratitude to the participants and the villagers who came forward collectively for the common cause of conservation of nature and wildlife. “Siswan is an opportunity hub where one can learn about nature as well as the relationship and inter-dependency between human and mother nature”, he said.

The walks were directed by the nature experts and guides who disseminate the knowledge about floral and faunal Wildlife. These dense deciduous forests are safe-haven for many native species like Panthers, barking deer, golden jackals and their pugmarks can be seen on tracks made by these animals. Participants were seen taking selfies and updating social media posts throughout the walks. The event saw not only youngsters but also retired officers and other respected senior citizens from nearby districts like Patiala, Ropar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh who displayed their enthusiasm & passion and inspired the young generations to never stop loving nature.

Mohali Range Officer Mr Mohan Singh said that Siswan always deserved special attention and recognition and he is delighted that department is making special efforts to promote the area. Mr Tejinder Singh and Satinder Pal who put in their efforts for the organization of the event said that they are hopeful that the Siswan and villages near-by will be benefitted with such steps and their efforts will be paid when people will talk more about Siswan and its rich ecosystem.

The event was closed at the Mirzapur Rest House where the participants and volunteers were honored for their contributions by being a part of this selfless effort. Department motivated and facilitated the participants to come up with suggestions and experiences wherein many individuals and groups offered to assist the department help conserve the nature. Welcoming these volunteers, Dr Monika Yadav, DFO, Ropar announced the conception of a common platform which would help both department and common people to share concerns, ideas and suggestions. She also said that department is keen to hand over the ownership of the reserve to the community in hope of such more steps would be initiated by the people. She also thanked Mr Gurraman Preet Singh Bains, DFO Forest, Mohali, Mr Himanshu, IAS, SDM, Kharar, Mr Husan Lal, Sarpanch, Mirzapur and Mr Sandeep, Siswan who extended their support for the successful running of the trek event.