1.Arunachal Pradesh has 2.5% geographical area of India but occupies significant place among 18 bio-diversity hotspots of the world. Though recorded forest area is 61.5% but its forest cover is 82%. It may be reiteration but I would like to point out that the forest cover percentage of the state which stands at 82% since a decade or so, needs fluctuation. We cannot sit idly and boast of this percentage which we have been doing for long. My government is committed to increase it by 90% by controlling shifting cultivation, encroachment of forest, arresting forest fire, grazing and illegal removal of forest produce besides developing very dense area by way of undertaking plantation through development schemes of TFC, CAMPA, SFDA, National Bamboo Mission, etc.
2. I would like to call upon all senior forest officers to shoulder the responsibility of increasing the forest cover with more zeal and vigour so that the target set by the government is achieved in few years from now.
3. I am aware that the forest department is lacking in man power and financial resources to achieve target of large plantation area, therefore, process of establishment of Ecological Task Force for development of forests in remote and vulnerable border areas has been started.
4. Urban forestry including road side and avenue plantation besides plantation in residential and non-residential complexes especially in Itanagar and other major town areas of the state is need of the hour for making environment better.
5. Climate Change has become a global issue with its serious consequences. And to fight this alarming global warming issue, the world has come together with a unified agenda. With highest forest cover in the country this Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh boasts of contributing immensely to the universe by serving as its lungs. The state ranks among the lowest Green House Gas emitting states of India i.e. 0.7 tonne green house gas per person against national average of 1.3 tonne Carbon-di-Oxide per person. Arunachal Pradesh State Action Plan on Climate Change has already been approved by Ministry of Environment & Forest costing of Rs. 6500 Cr for activities under different mission related to various departments like forest, agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, urban development, water resources and health. Financial resources will be explored through synergy and convergence of different schemes of departments besides approaching Planning Commission as well as Ministry of Environment & Forest.
6. Our state has great potential for non-timber forest products especially Bamboos (65 species), Canes (18 Species), Orchids (600 species) and Medicinal Plants (more than 500 species). Efforts are required for quantification of the same in wild and simultaneously for development of their cultivation practices so that road of their commercial aspects/ marketing could be drawn which would be the base for sustenance of livelihood of local people.
7. Arunachal Pradesh is moving through development phase for which road connectivity is important and its future depends upon the Hydro Power economy. With almost 60000 MW of hydro power potential, the state is termed as the future power house of the country. We have already allotted number of power projects to the Public Sector Undertakings and Private players and works on the projects are being expeditiously taken up. But due to delay in forest and environment clearances, the projects are overrunning the schedule date of commissioning which is again affecting the state with heavy revenue loss. I would therefore request the officers to expedite the diversion proposals for forest clearance and take all such proposals on priority.
8. Long interstate as well as international boundaries besides inland water routes of rivers are prone to illegal removal of forest produce from Arunachal Pradesh which needs to be plugged so as to avoid loss of forest wealth as well as leakage of revenue. All forest check gates should be strengthened by posting of staffs on rotational basis to avoid connivance of staff with miscreants.
9. State government has approved formation of Forest Protection Force. Process of its recruitment should be expedited to deploy this force in controlling smuggling, illegal trafficking of forest and wild life products.
10. Department should make effort to bring more area under community conservation reserve. Data base of bio-diversity available, bio-diversity committees, record of traditional knowledge and practices, bio-diversity registers should be updated in time frame by department. Under Project Tiger, the Tiger Protection Force has already been approved by Government of India in Pakke where mixed force of local people and ex-Army personnel should be encouraged.
11. Working plan and working scheme of all range forestries and maximum USF areas and management plan of all sanctuaries and National Parks need to be prepared for getting full advantage of central scheme/ grant like TFC.
12. Human resource development, capacity building and exposure of field staff to modern technology are required for all round development, hence department should look into this aspect also.
13. Forest research in the state is undergoing at slow pace despite establishment of SFRI. Germplasm bank of important rare and endangered species needs to be developed.
14. Emphasis has been given time and again for publicity and awareness programme for public through NGOs and Institutions. Befitting scheme of creating of eco-club, green corps need to be developed in schools and colleges besides introduction of environment related chapter in school syllabus. Incentive schemes for protection and conservation of forests and wildlife among children should be planned and developed by the department.
15. Lastly, I would like to thank the Department of environment and forest for inviting me to attend this very important meeting and hope that the discussions and points deliberated in the meeting shall be executed in letter and spirit by our senior forest officers.
16.Thank you.Jai Hind, Jai Arunachal