Control rooms to check man-animal conflict in Kashmir

Jammu, Dec 26 : Jammu and Kashmir has set up control rooms to promptly intervene in case of man-animal conflict in the state. Victims of such conflicts will also get enhanced compensation, Forest Minister Mian Altaf Ahmad said.

Ahmad was speaking at Udhampur town of Jammu region, 64 km from the state's winter capital.

"The primary concern of the department is to save human lives. Swift action control rooms have been set up across the state to act promptly on receiving information about the appearance of wild animals in human habitations. The state government has enhanced the compensation to Rs.3 lakh from the existing Rs.1 lakh for the families of those who lose their lives in such a conflict, while Rs.25,000 will be paid to each of those who suffer injuries in such incidents," the minister said.

There has been an alarming increase in man-animal conflict in the state in recent years. Experts attribute this to human encroachment of forest land.

The shrinking natural habitat of wild animals like bears, leopards and jackals has been forcing them to enter human habitations, where they come in conflict with human beings competing for space and food.

Mian Altaf Ahmad instructed officials of the forest department Thursday to launch massive afforestation on areas along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway so that damage caused to environment by smoke-emitting vehicles is checked. He also told officials to fence all forest land to avoid any encroachment.

As the minister took stock of the Manhoor nursery in Udhampur district, he was told that 10,000 plants had been planted in the district. In the previous season, 11,000 saplings were distributed among people for plantation. The minister was also told that 13,000 plants were ready for plantation in the next season.

Talking to reporters, the minister said conservation of forests and environment was the priority of his department. He added that the aim of his visit was to see progress of projects implemented in the district.

"A lot has been done, but much still needs to be done" he said.

--IANS (Posted on 26-12-2013)

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