Our pristine natural diverseness is hallmark for development of tourism: LG

Indian Forest Service celebrate 50 years of service in isles
Report by: 
Agencies
Port Blair
9 Feb 2017

To commemorate the celebration of 50 years of Indian Forest Service in A&N Islands, a two-day seminar on the theme ‘IFS in conservation of biodiversity and ecological security of Andaman & Nicobar Islands’, is being organized by the Department of Environment & Forests, A&N Administration at the Regional Medical Research Centre, Dollygunj. The Lt. Governor, A&N Islands, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi as the chief guest inaugurated the seminar by lighting the traditional oil lamp at ICMR here on Thursday. The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Mr Anindo Majumdar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Principal Secretary (Environment & Forests), Dr. Alok Saxena, PCCF (Wild Life) & Chief Wild Life Warden, Mr M. S. Negi, Post Master General, A&N Islands, Ms. Shashi Shalini Kujur, Additional PCCF (Administration  and Vigilance), Mr Tarun Coomar, retired senior IFS Officers, high officials from Department of Environment and Forests, other senior officers of the Administration and  officers of RMRC  were present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Lt. Governor greeted the IFS fraternity on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. “It’s a great pleasure to attend this golden jubilee function which acknowledges the contribution of the officers of the Forest Service who have contributed a lot for the development of the nation. The Indian Forest Service (IFS), one of the three all India services, was constituted in 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951, by the Government of India”, he said.
While thanking the officers for their enormous contribution for serving in various capacities, the Lt Governor also appreciated the Department of Environment and Forests for felicitating the IFS Officers, recognizing their contribution to these Islands in particular and the nation as a whole.
The Lt Governor further stated that a Golden Jubilee celebration is also an occasion for introspection for an individual as well as for an institution. The Department of Environment and Forests has contributed immensely towards the preservation and protection of forests, wildlife and our rich biodiversity. “If we are top in the list of  rich biodiversity, the credit goes to Forest Department as 94 percent of our area is under forest cover”, said the Lt Governor showering all praise for the IFS officials who served these Islands and laid the very strong foundation for the preservation & protection of forests here.
He said, our rich forest cover, biodiversity and wildlife is also a hallmark for development of  tourism in Isles, as tourists are greatly attracted to the pristine beauty of these Islands.  The Lt. Governor also expressed happiness that within a span of one year, the A&N Islands have witnessed 38% increase in tourist footfall in Isles. He stated that if this trend continues for another five years, the number of tourists will increase many fold. He said, efforts are on to ensure the required facilities are made available for meeting the needs of the tourists.
The Lt. Governor said, while developing tourism in these Islands, a balance is being maintained between development and environment. Eco- friendly tourism is being propagated here in a greater way, he added. To provide more facilities for the tourists, the Lt Governor said, a decision has been taken by the Administration to provide tented accommodations having all the facilities of a five-star hotel at Neil and Long Islands within one year’s time. Such facilities will surely increase tourism activities in both these Islands, the Lt Governor added.
As many as 17 retired Officers of Indian Forest Service who had served the Islands were recognized for their outstanding contributions. They were presented with mementoes by the Lt. Governor on the occasion. The Lt. Governor and other dignitaries released a souvenir in commemoration of  50 years of Indian Forest Service in Isles besides publications brought out by the Department of Environment and Forests, A&N Administration viz. A&N  Forest & Environment, Handbook on Forestry in A&N Islands, Common Forest Plants and Forest Statistic 2015. The Lt Governor also released the first album of special cover and special cancellation on the occasion brought out by the Postal Department.
In his address, the Chief Secretary, Mr Anindo Majumdar said, 50 years of Indian Forest Service in A&N Islands is an occasion of celebration which also calls for self introspection and taking stock of the future of  the ecology of A&N Islands. He lauded the immense contribution of the pioneers of Indian Forest Service who served the Islands in various capacities despite the challenges. He remarked that the two- day seminar would prove beneficial for the young foresters serving in these Islands.
Lauding the exemplary professionalism of the retired IFS officers, he urged the new members to uphold the tradition and serve the people of these Islands with dedication. The Chief Secretary also acknowledged the internal challenges of the Islands such as demand for more development and settlement, resulting in more responsibilities for the Forest Department. The mandate of the A&N Administration is to strive for a fine balance between development and conservation of the ecology of these Islands, he said adding that it is the duty of the younger generation to ensure sustainable development of the Islands. The Chief Secretary also threw  light on excessive exploitation of natural resources resulting in large-scale natural disaster and urged for judicious use of forest products and land. He also cautioned  about external challenges viz. global warming, climate change and rise in sea level which have become a major cause of concern across the globe. A short documentary on ‘Service of Foresters in A&N Islands’ by the Department of Environment & Forests was screened on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the PCCF, A&N Islands, Dr. Alok Saxena said the main mandate of the Indian Forest Service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which envisages scientific management of forests and to exploit them on a sustainable manner. He also explained the role of IFS officers in conservation of forest, wildlife, flora and fauna and lauded the sacrifices made by the IFS officers and foresters who served the Islands despite difficulties. He stressed on the need for conservation of natural resources in the Islands and also mentioned about the loss of forest cover due to the tsunami.  The efforts of the foresters in restoring the forest cover has resulted in increase in forest cover during the past two years, he added. Welcoming the gathering, PCCF (WL), Mr M.S. Negi outlined the significance of the celebration of 50 years of Indian Forest Service. He said the Indian Forest Service was constituted in the year 1996 for protection, conservation as well as regeneration of  forest resources. India was the first country which introduced scientific forest management, he said, adding that the Indian Forest Service has clear vision of its target and has devised ways to achieve them. He said, external challenges such as global warming and rise in sea level are a major cause of concern. He said, the role of foresters in reducing carbon footprints is very important in maintaining the biodiversity of A&N Islands and stressed on the need for sustainable development of the Islands. The Addl. PCCF, Mr Tarun Coomer proposed the vote of thanks.