The Himachal Pradesh Government decided to reform the existing action plan to manage the waste forest wealth in the state by devising new standard operating procedures (SOPs).
According to the spokesperson of the State government, new SOPs are designed to dispose of the timber woods within 30 days for efficient management of salvaged trees.
The decision would help the state to increase additional revenue as State Forest Corporation provides the timber woods to people from its depots as new SOPs are likely to ensure the availability of treated timber at the local level.
In a bid to streamline unattended salvage tree management from the forest land and prevent revenue losses due to timber corrosion and thievery.
The State Government has introduced SOPs focusing on expediting the entire process to ensure accountability among forest department officers and strict adherence to fixed timelines.
“It has been observed that due to delay in the disposal of salvage trees, the State has to suffer huge financial loss.”
With new SOPs in place, the availability of timber at the local level, reduction in transportation cost, boost in revenue, conversion in raw forms and enhanced efficiency of field staff will be ensured,”
The rollout of these SOPs would be carried out in phases. Initially, the procedures will be enforced in seven Forest Ranges across five divisions within four circles, including Hamirpur, Dharamshala, Solan, and Shimla, on a pilot basis starting from 1st September 2023.
In the subsequent phase, these SOPs would extend to 70 forest ranges within six circles across the State, with full implementation scheduled from 1st July 2024.
The forest guards and Forest Corporation staff will collaborate on the details during the first seven days of the month. Over the subsequent three days, Deputy Rangers will mark the trees, with a list of designated lots submitted to Range Officers in the following three days.
The Range Officer, within seven days, will handle all necessary formalities for felling, conversion, and transportation of the produce to specified depots.
This would be done at predetermined rates, with communication to the concerned Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) and completion of work within the stipulated timeframe.
For effective disposal, the Range Officer will intimate the DFO and the Forest Corporation counterpart about the same, along with extraction costs and transportation expenses, between the 22nd and 23rd days of the month.
Subsequently, the DFO will generate a bill based on extraction, transportation costs, and royalty, which will be forwarded to the Divisional Manager of the Forest Corporation.
Harvested materials can then be transferred to the Corporation upon payment of the bill, within the period of the 24th to the 26th day of the month.
If the Corporation declines to take the lot, the Range Officer will conduct a departmental auction between the 27th and 28th days of the month, adhering to the reserve price provided by the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department’s management wing.
To enhance the process, a dedicated web portal will be developed for data input regarding marking, extraction, and disposal.
The portal would enable the uploading of geo-tagged images of salvage trees, as well as stacked timber on a lot-by-lot basis at range depots or roadside depots.
This IT support would also facilitate the assessment of cost-benefit factors associated with salvage operations.