Famous for its lush forests, the Kashmir valley is slowly loosing its green cover as there is no stopping the haphazard and illegal cutting of trees and timber smuggling. The green gold in Kashmir is openly being plundered by vested interests and the authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to the forests.

Afsana Rashid

Despite a

Asifa Amin Koul

The presence of numerous

BARAMULLA, July 27: To review the implementation of Rural Health Mission in Baramulla district, a meeting of concerned officers was held here yesterday with Secretary Health and Medical Education Department Atal Dullu in chair.
It was given out that out of Rs. 6.22 crore received under the programme during last three years, Rs. 5.35 crore stand expended upto June 2008.
Reviewing the works taken up under RHM, the meeting was told that 51 works have been undertaken under District Plan, NABARD, State sector and BADP registering a cumulative expenditure of over Rs. 64 crore.

From pugmarks to high-tech equipment like satellite imagery and camera-traps. That's how census on wild animals in Jammu and Kashmir is graduating. Come March, and the state Government will undertake two scientific censuses on three wild animals: the highly-endangered hangul, also called the Kashmir stag, the common leopard and the Asiatic black bear, also known as Himalayan black bear. To be conducted in collaboration with the Central Government, the censuses will also get expert help from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. J&K Chief Wildlife Warden A K Srivastava says, "While one census will be on the endangered hangul, found only in Kashmir, the other will focus on the common leopard and the Asiatic black bear.' The Kashmir stag census will be utilised to protect the endangered animal, and the other will be used to deal with the increasing incidents of the man-animal conflicts in the state. Srivastava says the earlier censuses conducted by the state Government were not accurate as these were carried out "on the basis of their pugmarks'. "But the new censuses will be carried out, using the most high-tech equipment like satellite imagery and camera-traps,' he adds. Cameras will be put on trees in the forest areas, which will trap the movement of wild animals, recording their actual number with the help of satellite imagery. The Centre has agreed in principle to fund the census projects. "In Jammu, experts from the Wildlife Institute of India will hold a three-day training workshop for divisional forest officers and range officers of the state forest and wildlife departments,' adds Srivastava. While the hangul is not harmful, the other two have caused man-animal conflicts in the state over the past two years, killing over three dozen and injuring more than 200 people. While the hangul census will mainly focus on the Kashmir valley, the other one will cover various areas