'Rampant development a threat to Indian forests', says Ramesh

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New Delhi, Jan 5 (ANI): Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday termed the rampant development as the greatest threat to the forests, flora and fauna in the country.

Addressing a seminar 'The Challenge of Self Organising to Govern Commons in India' here today, Ramesh opined that certain obstacles like encroachments, grazing livestock and even poachers could be managed but not the craze for industrial development, utterly disregarding the after affects.

"I think the encroachment threat can be managed, the cattle threat, the people threat, the local level can be managed, but what can't be managed is the growth dynamic...this great growth dynamic of a country of a billion people," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Jairam Ramesh also focused on initiating local participation in the decision making process and delineating a chart to move forward in the conservation of forest cover and protection of the wildlife.

He further said the Forest Ministry has initiated Joint Forest Management Committee, which involves both the Centre and State Governments supplemented by the active participation of the locals to conserve and add value to the forests.

Ramesh maintained that different forest regions in the country need different types of forests.

"For ensuring the quality of the forests, you need a diversity of models. You need a state-centred model in certain areas. You need a state-cum-community partnership in other areas, and in many other areas you will require a community-led model," he added.

Jairam Ramesh said that a challenging step is to orchestrate the pro-active participation of the tribals and communities and the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMCs).

"The challenge is that in the next generations of the JFMCs which we form, and the JFMCs that are actually going to function, how do we get them integrating in a manner that will actually involve local participation and local communities," he said.

"The Environment Ministry is focusing in attaining thick forests and preserving them for all times to come," he added. (ANI)

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