Chandigarh: Punjab Forest minister Surjit Kumar Jayani has ordered the complete reorganisation of the forest beat system which has been prevailing in the forest department since the British times.
The `beats` are the lowest organisational units of forest department held by the forest guards.
Forest Beats were constituted to include only government forest areas whereas other non-forest lands including village panchayat lands, government institutions were not covered under Forest Beats.
"The minister has ordered the reorganisation of forest beats so as to include all panchayat lands, village lands, institutional lands and private areas thereby bringing all these non-forest areas under the management responsibility of the Forest Guards, an official release said here today.
The, release quoting the minister, said that the forest guards have now been entrusted with the plantation and protection of trees in schools, hospitals, panchyats lands, villages and other institutional non-forest areas besides their traditional responsibility of administration of government forest areas.
This step would build up close relations between the Forest Department and the according to the Forest Survey of India, 6.12 crore trees are located outside the traditional forest areas in Punjab state.
The re-organisation of Forest Beats will facilitate the involvement of the community in the `Greening Punjab Mission` wherein it is planned to increase the forest and tree cover in the state from existing 7 to 15 per cent, the minister said.