ZT News Desk
Budgam, July 01:
With an aim of creating awareness about forest biodiversity and finding potential edible value of forest herbs and vegetables, J&K State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) in association with Center for Conservation of Culture Heritage (CCCH) organized a one-day forest food festival cum biodiversity workshop at Yusmarg in central Kashmir’s Budgam district
Speaking on the occasion Director State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) O P Sharma said that there is an utmost need to conserve forest biodiversity in J&K which is under serious threat. He gave a detailed presentation on the national Biodiversity Act wherein local panchayats are empowered to stop illegal smuggling of medicinal and other non-forest timber produce (NTFP) from the forests.
Sharma who inaugurated the forest food festival at Yusmarg said such programmes are need of the hour to create mass awareness among communities living near forests.
Renowned Chef Mohammad Yasin Reshi of Institute of Hotel Management Srinagar prepared as many as 10 dishes of various forest herbs which included dishes prepared from Pamb Haakh, Obej, Lai Gassa, Panz Unggee, etc. He also prepared Halwa from wild corn flour which was served as a dessert. Director SFRI O P Sharma lauded the role of volunteers of RTI Movement and CCCH especially Dr. Raja Muzaffar, Chef Yasin Mehrajudin Andrabi and Abdul Rahman for coordinating the whole event.
Director Finance Health & Medical Education Mohammad Rafiq, Trustee of Center for Conservation of Culture and Heritage (CCCH) Dr. Mushtaq Khan, Syed Nasarullah Chairman JK Peoples Forum, social activist Dr. Raja Muzaffar and Lecturer Botany Hr Sec School Pakherpora Javid Ahmad spoke on the occasion in detail.
A large number of forest officers including DFO Seeds division SFRI Munshi Iqbal, Ranger Officer Dr. Arshad, local residents of Yusmarg and adjoining villages plus students and teachers of Govt Higher Secondary School Pakherpora also participated in the programme.
Pertinently in past also O P Sharma during his tenure as Director Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing along with members of CCCH has organized several low-cost forest food festivals. Sharma said such activities will be organized in other places of state so that more and more people are reached out during this campaign.
Organizers of the event SFRI and CCCH thanked Chief Engineer Irrigation & Flood Control and Executive Engineer Irrigation Budgam for providing logistical support to hold the event.