Bhopal:March 27,(Yasha Sharma) The Minister for Forests Kunwar Vijay Shah has stressed the need for making forest conservation a popular movement to rope in active community participation in this important task. He called for greater efforts to educate the youth on environmental issues. Kunwar Shah was inaugurating
a two-day workshop on including ecological services in forestry schemes organized at the Academy of Administration here today. The workshop would deliberate on various vital issues including forests, bio diversity, eco tourism, economic evaluation of ecological services and livelihoods. The Director General of the Academy Smt. Mala Shrivastava; Principal Secretary Forests Shri Prashant Mehta and Principal Secretary, Water Resources Shri Arvind Joshi were also present on the occasion. The Forests Minister said that use of wood as fuel adversely affects the health of women. Efforts are, therefore, being made to provide cooking gas connections, pressure cookers, mosquito nets and blankets to the rural people at subsidized rates. These efforts have led to considerably reduction in use of wood as fuel. The Minister said that the wildlife management efforts made in Madhya Pradesh have been appreciated at national level. At the initiative of the state government the central government has sanctioned an attractive package for rehabilitation of rural population from the protected areas. Now every family would get Rs. ten lakh instead of Rs. one lakh. He said that rural people have been associated with forest protection and conservation through joint forest management. The people associated with it are given a part of the income accrued from forest areas. Recently, dividends of about Rs. 22 crore were paid to the members of Van Samitis. He said that the incidents of fire in forests have been reduced considerably. Now only .1 percent forest area is affected by fire while four years ago over five percent forest was affected. Noted environmentalist and editor of Century Asia magazine Shri Bittu Sahagal explained the subject of the workshop through attractive pictures and stressed the need for conservation of forests at every level for existence of humanity. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Shri V.R. Khare said that a common perception is that only wood is obtained from the forests and very few people are aware of the role of forests in existence of life on the earth planet. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) Dr. P.B. Gangopadhyaya emphasized the need for greater public participation in environment protection. Earlier, Director of the workshop Shri R. Shriniwas explained the objectives of the workshop. Director, Academy of Administration Shri Madhu Handa proposed a vote of thanks.