Forest beat system to be reorganised

Forest Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani on Sunday ordered the complete reorganisation of the "forest beat" system, prevalent since the British times.

The "beats" — the lowest organisational units of the department held by the forest guards — were constituted to include only government forest areas while non-forest land like village panchayat land and government institutions were not covered under it.

However, Jayani has ordered the reorganisation of forest beats so as to include all panchayat, village, institutional and private areas, thereby bringing all these non-forest areas under the forest guards.

The minister added that forest guards have now also been entrusted with the plantation and protection of trees in schools, hospitals, panchyats lands, villages and other institutional non-forest areas.

According to the Forest Survey of India, 6.12 crore trees are located outside the traditional forest areas in Punjab. The production of wood outside forests is more than three times than that in the government forests in the state.

The re-organisation will facilitate the involvement of the community in the "Greening Punjab Mission," the minister said.

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