Srinagar, Jan 28: The Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) on Sunday called for expanding agroforestry cover in Jammu and Kashmir to meet the growing timber demands of wood-based industry and boosting economic opportunities in rural areas besides contributing to curb carbon emissions.
Speaking at a one-day workshop organised on wood-based industry by District Saw Mill Owners Association at Nathpora, Anantnag, former President FCIK Shakeel Qalander underscored the need for concerted efforts by the government and stakeholders in enhancing agroforestry base in J&K for sustainable availability of timber, fodder and fuel wood for futuristic needs.
“The growing of abundant trees outside nationalised forests over the private farm lands, along agricultural lands, community lands, marginal lands, fringe areas, riverbank belts, waste lands and road side strips will not only overcome shortage of raw material for existing industry but may also pave way for prospective industrialization in this sector” he said.
He said that under the changed demand-supply scenario, the prices will automatically get controlled under economies of scale rules.
Qalander emphasised on the significance of farmers providing timber to wood based industry and urged upon the concerned entrepreneurs to establish cordial and supportive relations with them besides paying them their due.
Qalander proposed for framing of regional and district based wood councils by J&K government comprising members from departments of forest, social forestry and revenue besides experts from SKUAST, industry, environmentalists and farmers for augmenting strategic plans for expanding agroforestry cover under the latest initiatives and reforms programme launched by GoI.
“The initiatives, currently monitored at PMO level, aim for achieving a target of 33 percent of geographical area under forest and tree cover besides carbon sequestration by creating an additional CO2 sink of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tons by 2030 under Paris Agreement of the UNFCCC," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, former FCIK President Zahoor Ahmad Bhat laid emphasis on gradual relocation of unorganised wood based industry to organised industrial estates, clusters for production efficiency, advantageous common facilities and enhanced employment generation.
He said that FCIK would collect feedback from its constituents on available chunks of state lands in various districts to pursue such relocations.
Responding to issues raised in the workshop, Zahoor Bhat assured the members of seeking immediate redressal to all their genuine problems more particularly for renewal of their licenses, formal approval of clusters and power related issues.
Earlier, President SMOA Ghulam Mohammed Trumboo welcomed FCIK Advisory Committee and recalled efforts of FCIK in the past towards resolution of problems faced by wood based units from time to time. Ghulam Mohammad Bhathanji, Ghulam Nabi, Nazir Ahmad Nath and other members of the association raised various problems currently faced by their members.
The advisory committee members informed the gathering that FCIK in the past three months held two high level meetings under the chairmanship of Financial Commissioner department of Forest, Ecology and Environment during which many decisions including auto-renewal of licenses for the mill owners have already been taken.