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Won’t spare corrupt, asserts Guv Malik

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Says ‘I know many who made millions when in charge of J&K forests’

Srinagar, Jul 08: Asserting that his administration will not spare anyone who indulged in corrupt practices, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday said that those in charge of the state’s forests “have made millions” through dubious means.

“There is no vendetta (against anyone). In its natural course, the way Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is working now, we won’t let go big fishes. No one will be spared – whether he belongs to any party or howsoever big he is. No one is big before the law. I am here. I am not going anywhere,” Malik told reporters after starting a plantation drive — “Green J&K Drive” — at Zabarwan hills here.

The Governor said several people, who worked in the Forest department in the state, had accumulated millions of rupees by destroying forests.

“See the bungalows in Vasant Vihar or Maharani Bagh in Delhi of those who worked in the Forest department. I know several families who have made millions as they had the charge of forests. The forests of Jammu and Kashmir have been destroyed painfully. They are our lungs and we are alive because of them,” he said.

He said there were places in Kashmir which had zero level of pollution only because of the plantation.

“We have to increase that and achieve the target of 50 lakh plants. And not just plant them, but we will guard them round the year. I will myself see if the one I planted is growing well. We will take measures for their protection,” he said.

Malik said the people of Kashmir were by and large very good, but there had been a betrayal with them.

“There has been a betrayal with them. They were not shown the right path and were not told the reality. If we all together take it towards the right path, then Kashmir will become the best state of the country,” he said.

Governor also observed that ‘Green Jammu and Kashmir drive’ has been launched under a major environment-friendly initiative of planting 50 lakh trees in the State by June 2020.

He said that the extensive plantation drive undertaken by the Forest department and its allied wings by involving Panchayats, civil society and other stakeholders to plant trees alongside roads, railway lines, rivers, streams, canals, degraded forest land, areas retrieved from encroachment, and institutional areas, etc., will go a long way to preserve and further enhance the rich forest wealth of the state.

Governor observed that in the initial stage, nine lakh plants of various indigenous species will be planted over the identified earmarked areas during monsoon season in Jammu region to be followed by plantation in Kashmir during November-December and thereafter in March-April to achieve the target of 50 lakh trees by June, 2020.

He also added that the Farm Forestry and Agro Forestry will be promoted by providing quality growing stock and other technical inputs to farmers and developing market linkages for proper sale of their produce.

Advisors to Governor — K Vijay Kumar, K K Sharma, K Skandan; Siddhanta Das, Director General of Forests, Government of India; B V R Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Umang Narula, Financial Commissioner to Governor; Suresh Chugh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests; Farooq Ahmad Gillani, Chief Conservator of Forests, Kashmir; Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar were present among others on the occasion.

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