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Century old Forest School begs for attention

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By: Adv Mudasir Nazir

Kashmir Forest Training school is situated in Chiternar Bandipora inside beautiful conifer forests. This beautiful Forest School is surrounded by lush green forests that sooth one’s soul when one enters this beautiful forest campus. It is hardly 3 kms away from the main town Bandipora and 58 kms away from Srinagar.

With the advent of scientific management of forests in the state, need for trained subordinate staff was felt for efficient protection of forests as well as better supervision and execution of various plans and schemes. With these ideas Kashmir Forest Training  school was founded at Chiternar Bandipora in the year 1911 AD.

The Chiternar Training school was founded by W. H. Lovegrove, the 3rd Conservator of Forests who headed the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department from 1907 to 1915.He had the vision and foresight of establishing a Forestry School at this remote place unfortunately the successive governments failed to carry on the mission and the glory of this oldest institute of the country.

This institute was established just 5 years after the establishment of The Dheradhun Forest Research Institute which was established in 1906.

Besides housing the country’s one of the oldest Forest Training schools, Chiternar is considered as one of the best picnic spot due to its mesmerising natural beauty.  It also houses different government  departments like Social Forestry, Wildlife, Soil Conservation, Divisional Forests Office etc. The nurseries with hundreds of species of different plants and herbs can be found here.

A beautiful playground inside Chiternar Forest Campus adds glory to this campus. Although the playground is not too big but remains the attraction for local cricketers and during the peak cricket season it hosts the most cricket leagues throughout the year in which the famous cricketers of state participate.

On weekends the Campus is full with people coming from different areas for picnic purposes which had inversely effected this eco friendly campus. People throw trash everywhere and the authorities remain unconcerned. You can’t find any dust bins in the area.

As far as the development of this century old institution is concerned, it can be imagined from the fact that the institution  which has been founded before the independence of India has not been upgraded yet .The Forest School should have been converted into Forest Research Institute but the successive governments didn’t give any attention to it.

The interior of this beautiful campus is in shambles, the inner roads have not been macadamized almost from the last 20 years despite the fact that this Forest Campus had hosted almost most of the official functions of District Administration.

The government must show some seriousness to develop this forest school and upgrade it into a Research Institute. On their part, the people visiting the picnic spot should respect the environ there and should avoid polluting it.

It is a time to act if not now than never!

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