The State Forest Corporation (SFC) is financially in doldrums and may close
‘Warped Policy, No Imagination’
Srinagar: Governments warped policy and lack of imagination are now leading the J&K State Forest Corporation on the brink of closure, well place sources told Kashmir Monitor. The Corporation that is already in red is on the brink of closure as the sales of timber have dwindled over the last few years due to the cheaper forms of wood available in the local market.
“We sell a foot of deodar wood at about Rs.2000 per foot. Now imported timber is available in the market for almost one fourth of the price. So it is but normal for people to go for the cheaper option”, an official of the State Forest Corporation told Kashmir Monitor on condition of anonymity.
Sources in the Corporation say as soon as the demand for SFC controlled timber was beginning to show a dip, the Government should have sensed the market mood and taken corrective measures. Sources say that despite a drop in demand the Government continues to keep the same supply levels which have resulted in massive stock piling at the SFC godowns.” Normally when a demand for a certain product dwindles, the supplier curbs the supply. But in Kashmir though the demand has dwindled, the supply is the same. The result is a massive overstock”, another official of SFC says.
Sources also complain that as a life saving measure the Government should itself have brought timber only from the SFC as it would have ensured the Corporation would continue to survive and the Government itself would have benefited from the high quality timber.
One of the other results of Governments lack of interest is the fact that despite finding fewer takers, the deodar felling continues as per Government norms. Sources say that with massive overstock of deodar available in godowns felling of tress for timber should be immediately stopped.
Privately senior officials of the State Forest Corporation admit that the Government should have itself gone into the imported timber business when it had started few years back. Officials say that due to government’s lack of vision, the entire timber market is now flooded with imported timber and as such the entire market has lost the balance. “There is no control over the quality and pricing. Everyone can become a timber dealer now. As such the market has crashed and margins have been affected. Government should have itself imported timber and sold it at a controlled price”, the officials admits.
Sources also say that most of the Corporation staff is now without work and very soon the Corporation would have to arrange salaries from somewhere as its coffers were running dry.