Pema Khandu in the meeting. Image: Northeast Now

“Conservation should not only mean protecting forests and wildlife but improving lives of people around it should also be taken into account”, said Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday.

He was speaking during a review meeting with senior officers of the state forest department.

“The forest department should shed away its image of a stumbling block to development,” the CM further said.

He suggested the department to come up with innovative solutions to strike a balance between environmental sustainability and economic growth.

“Conservation of forest should always be a priority,” he added.

“The department should lead the way in sensitizing the people towards forest conservation,” Khandu further added.

He suggested the department that any conservation-related tourism festivals in the state must be taken over by the forest department.

“This, I feel will be effective in spreading the message of conservation as forest department is well versed with the subject,” Khandu added.

Khandu also called on the department to submit proposals for centrally sponsored afforestation scheme on time from the district level.

He informed that this year funds for Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) has been distributed across the state.

“Earlier, such funds were limited and were limited only to certain areas and on avenue plantation,” Khandu informed.

The chief minister urged the department to change its working style and move towards transparency, accountability and efficiency.

He said the department has lost its charm by being less active and called on the officers to work hard to bring back its lost glory.

“Despite funding from the centre for the recruitment of special tiger protection force in the state, the department hasn’t been able to utilize the opportunity,” Khandu said.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com

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