J&K State :

Jammu and Kashmir is located between 32° 17’ to 37° 5’ latitudes and 73° 26’ to 80° 30’E longitudes, occupying central position in the Asian continent. The geographical area of the State is 2,22,236 Sq. Km (6.74% of area of the Country). The three geographical regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh constitute the state of J&K. Average height above mean sea level in the state varies from less than 1,000 feet to about 28,000 feet. Physical features vary from the subtropical plains of Jammu and Kashmir districts to the cold desert of inner Himalayas including the Ladakh, Kargil and northwestern plateau of Gilgit. The central mountainous region is of great economic importance, as it comprises the valley of Kashmir and other valleys on its northern aspect and mid and high altitudes of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda District on the southern aspect.

Department of Soil Conservation - A Profile :

(i) Soil and water are the basic constituents of primary productivity and are extremely vital natural resource intrinsically linked with the survival and sustenance of life. Soil acts as stratum for vegetal growth and medium to receive snow and rain fall, the only source of sweet water to meet entire need of human being. Ground water recharge also depends on soil profile of the watershed. Further 56% of 6622 Million Tonnes of carbon (assessed for 2005) locked in India’s forests and tree cover worth US $ 120b, or Rs 6,00,000 crores @ US $ 5 per tonne CO2 are in the soil. (Source: - Kishwan J. et al, 2009 “India’s Forest and Tree Cover-Contribution as a carbon sink” Technical Paper No 130 ICFRE Bl-23). Hence a holistic management of these resources becomes imperative not only for sustainable development but also for human survival.

(ii) The Jammu and Kashmir State constituted Soil Conservation Board vide Govt. Order No. 375- FST of 1976 dated 24-9-1976 under the Chairmanship of the then Hon’ble Revenue Minister (Forest) to examine the problem of soil erosion and make suitable recommendation on this aspect. Further keeping in view its importance Soil Conservation Department was created vide Govt. Order No. 212-FST of 1978 dated 21-10-1978 by taking officials from Forest, Agriculture and Irrigation Department with basic functions as under:- • Research • Demonstration • Formulation of Soil Conservation Schemes and • Monitoring, Evaluation, and coordination of Soil Conservation activities of various Departments i.e. Forests, Agriculture, Irrigation etc.

(iii) To guide and facilitate the working of newly created Soil Conservation Directorate, a “Governing Board for Soil Conservation Department” was constituted vide Govt. Order No.456-GD of 1979 dated 19-2-1979 read with GO No.772 GD of 1979 dated 6-4-1979 under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Forest Minister with Hon’ble Revenue Minister and Commissioner / Secretaries of Planning, Finance, Agriculture, Forest, PHE and concerned H.O.Ds. on board.

(iv) Initially the Department started working under a Director assisted by 2 Divisional Soil Conservation Officers and 1 Senior Scientist with a few supporting staff drawn from Forest and Agriculture Department. The Department took up soil conservation works in critical area to develop suitable models like treatment of Rangil, Tujar Sharif and Chewa in Kashmir province, Balshama-Thandapani, Birpur and Purmandal in Jammu province. Pioneering work of codification of Watersheds was done in the state. It also took up research work and developed a number of projects which were adopted by other departments/ projects like IWDP Hill-I.

(v) Considering the necessity of soil and moisture conservation measures all over the state , the district level offices were established in 1999 with the existing minimal staff available in the Soil Conservation Department and some official drawn temporarily from the Forest Dept working under immediate control of erstwhile Divisional offices created in 1980. For the better management Zonal Offices were established in 2005-06 under the control of respective District Soil Conservation Officers.

(vi) Since 2004 the District Offices are working under the immediate control of respective Joint Directors at regional level drawn from the Forest Department. The Joint Directors are, in turn, working under the overall control of the Director Soil Conservation, who is Major Head of the Department. In 2006, the 3rd Joint Director has been posted from overall IFS cadre strength at State level, who has been assigned the supervisory control of Ladakh region and special projects etc. The subordinate staff of all these offices have been met from overall staff strength sanctioned in 1978 and no separate staff was created for these Districts and Regional level offices. No creations for posts or reorganization have been made so far.

(vii) Presently Soil Conservation Department is working in all the districts including Leh and Kargil and 8 newly created districts. It is executing 8 schemes under State Plan-District as well as State Sectors besides implementing schemes of BADP, Haryali, Tribal Areas Development Plan in a few districts.

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