The State Government has approved the engagement of ‘Van Mitra’ from local communities at the forest beat level for better forest management and conservation. The initiative aims to involve the local population in the responsible management of the state’s vast forest resources across 2061 forest beats.
These ‘Van Mitra’ will be entrusted with responsibilities like fire protection, afforestation drives, resin tapping, and salvage operations. This initiative is not only intended to enhance the sustainable management of forest resources but also create livelihood opportunities, particularly for the local youth of the area.
Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said, “Local communities play a pivotal role in managing forest resources. The role of communities in the management of forest resources is important because it is the communities who use these resources. Therefore, there is a need for more active involvement of local communities in protection and sustainable management of forest resources and forest ecosystem functions.”
The engagement of ‘Van Mitra’ will also ensure more active community participation in the protection and development of forests. These individuals will be an integral part of all forestry operations conducted by the Forest Department throughout the year thus contributing in conservation of forest wealth.
The Chief Minister said, “Protecting the forest and tree cover in mountainous regions, stabilizing slopes, reducing surface run-off, and curbing soil erosion are of utmost importance. This initiative underscores the need for close collaboration between the Forest Department and local communities to achieve these vital goals. The state government is committed to preserve its natural resources and safeguard the environment for future generations in collaboration with the local communities.”
Additionally, the ‘Van Mitra’ will play a key role in creating awareness about forest and environmental conservation, fostering a deeper understanding of sustainable forest management within the local communities.