Chandigarh July 28: To tap into ever growing demand of silk fabric, Punjab Forest Department has prepared a Project on Livelihood Improvement on Sericulture Farmer in Dhar Block of Pathankot district of Punjab by utilization of vacant forest land in kandi areas under Silk Samagra. Disclosing this, the Forests Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said that the 3.6 crores project a boon for the farmers of the region and would give major impetus to the sericulture development across the state.
This project is approved by Central Silk Board, Bangluru Ministry of Textile, Government of India on 26th july, 2021, and under this pilot project five villages i.e. Durang khad , Phangtoli , Bhadan , Samanu/Junghath and Bhabhar of Dhar Block of Pathankot District have been selected where 37500 saplings of mulberry will be planted. It is pertinent to mention here that there is poor availability of mulberry leaves which was a major hindrance in the Sericulture Development in Punjab. The Forest Department has selected 116 beneficiaries among these villages.
These beneficiaries will be provided community rearing houses , rearing appliances training etc. by Forest Department in collaboration with Central Silk Board and Department of Horticulture Punjab. Shri V.B Kumar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab said that this is an innovative project and expected to give new boost to sericulture development not only in Punjab but other region of North West India where vast vacant forest areas can be integrated with sericulture activities without disturbing the forest activities but generating scope of additional income from the forest land to the landless and marginal farmers to increase their income.
This will create livelihood opportunity through concept of agro- forestry by integration sericulture activities in vacant forest land through Village Forest Committee(s) & Self Help Groups in the Kandi areas especially in Dhar Block of Pathankot Forest Division. Earlier there was a gap in marketing of Silk cocoon. Now the department will be introducing digital technologies like mobile application to link the entire silk industry supply chain, helping sericulture farmers get better prices for their produce to ensuring quality of cocoons said Sanjeev Tiwari Conservator of Forests.