Gilzian said that the web portal has been developed to boost the timber industries in the state and to simplify the process for registration and licensing. The industries will get the facility to get registration and licensing within the stipulated time limits with full transparency.
The forest minister said that this move will provide a revenue of about Rs 10 to 15 crore and it would also generate employment for over 10,000 workers directly and for 25,000 indirectly. Likewise, timber traders will earn revenue in the form of GST.
He added that Punjab Regulation of Sawmills, Veneer and Plywood Industries Rules, 2006 was enacted in the state to regulate timber-based industries. However, as per the guidelines issued by the Government of India in 2016, Agroforestry types such as Populus, Dek, Toot, Silver Oak etc.will not be required to obtain a license and just need to get registration from the forest department.
In addition to this, the establishment of timber-based industries using agroforestry types of timber would have a significant impact on the growth of agro-forestry of farmers, increase in area under forest and also boost the income of farmers.
As per the rules approved by the state government in the year 2018, Rs 10 per foot as a green fee will be charged from industrialists for using the wood, which has been utilized to plant new trees and for the welfare of industrialists.
He said that a survey was conducted by the Punjab government from the Indian Institute of Forest, Dehradun which revealed that the area of forest has increased from 32 lakh metric tonnes to 37 lakh metric tonnes cubic in the state.
He said that in the past 5 years, licenses were not being issued to timber-based industries, but now the Department of Forest and Wildlife Protection, Punjab has provided the facility for registration of timber-based industries located at a distance of more than 10 km from block forests, to bolster the timber industries in the state and provide employment opportunities. Along with this, traders would get a fair price for the timber.
He said that the website of the forest department has been completely modernized and updated so that all the services of the department would be made available online to the people through a single portal.
Gilzian said that the Pun Forest Mobile App has been launched to monitor plantation and protection work in the field by the Forest and Wildlife Conservation officials.
He said that the officers and staff of the department would update the photographs of the plantations, daily progress of the plantations, and details of the plantation sites in the app.