Himachal to promote Willow and Sandal tree plantation

Hamirpur/ August 22

State Government would promote Willow and Sandal tree plantations in Sujanpur area and plant 60,000 sandal wood saplings during current financial year. This was stated by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal while addressing an impressive public meeting at Chabutra in Hamirpur. Earlier he dedicated newly constructed Forest Rest House at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh and Primary Health Centre at Kuthera constructed at a cost of Rs. 43 lakh to people of the area. He also planted a sapling to launch 63rd District-Level Van Mahotsava. He said that willow wood were used for manufacturing cricket bats and with the planting of the same, the economy of the rural area would get boost besides preserving ecology of the area.
Chief Minister said that Van Mahotsava should not be limited to mere ritual observation, but should be made a mass movement where every stake-holder needed to play pro-active role in saving invaluable forest wealth. He said that forests were yielding direct and indirect benefit of worth Rs. 1100 crore per annum to the people. He said that the forest cover in the state had increased by 11 kilometers during past one decade while in rest of the country the same had receded. He said that forests had been responsible for preservation of ecology of the Himalayan region and in slowing down the impact of global warming and climate change. He underlined the need for taking care of the saplings planted to ensure their survival for long for increasing forest cover.
Chief Minister said that the state government had not only re-opened the closed 393 saw mills but also removed ban on sale of ‘Khair’ trees to add to the income generating activities. He said that sale of Khair had been banned by preceding government and growers were suffering heavily. He said that resin price had been increased to Rs. 7,000 per quintal to generate additional income to the farmers. He said that ‘Congress Ghas Hatao – Paryavaran Bachao’ scheme had been instrumental in reclaiming the fertile land in the state.

He underlined the need to make it a campaign to collect pine needles from the forests which could be sold for different purposes in the market besides saving the forest wealth from fires. He said that the state had now been issuing grazing permits for three years at one go.
Local MLA  Urmil Thakur also welcomed the Chief Minister to her home segment and thanked for the development made in the area. She said that higher educational institutions opened in the district were facilitating youth at their door steps. She said that Dhaula Siddh hydroelectric project was bound to prove a milestone in hydel generation in the district. She thanked for connecting all panchayats in her segment with motorable road.