CM raises issues of forest concern with Centre

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Shimla, Sep 18 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today urged Union Minister of State for Forest and Environment S Raghupathy to withdraw the un-gazetted notification of 1952 bringing all the wasteland under the Demarcated Protected Forest (DPF) to facilitate the State Government carry out its developmental activities unhampered.

Both the leaders were interacting on various issues of mutual interest following the visit of the Union minister to the State here today.

The Chief Minister said the entire wasteland and uncultivated land had been brought under the purview of the notification and not much space was left for carrying the developmental activities like road construction, infrastructure building, transmission lines and other allied developmental activities.

He said that the process to obtain permission was time consuming and was hampering the pace of development, hence the notification needed to be withdrawn in the interest of the state.

He stressed that his government was environment savy and had banned green felling, waged war against the forest mafia and initiated effective steps to help regeneration of the natural forests in the state.

He said that his government had introduced carton boxes to replace wooden boxes thereby saving annual legitimate felling of over 80 thousand trees for fruit packing.

Mr Singh said the Union Ministry needed to fix standards for minimum and maximum widths of all the transmission lines since a number of hydro electric projects were under execution in the state and more such were likely to be allotted for execution in the near future.

He said transmission lines being laid by the projects required permission of the Union Ministry which needed to be given promptly so that power generation could benefit the consumer states.

Mr Singh further said that policy needed to be evolved to consider either the budgetary support to the extent of Net Present Value or request the Supreme Court to exempt the state of Himachal Pradesh, especially with regard to government projects were involved.

He said that the decision could raise the income to the state exchequer and contribute towards developmental activities.

Chief Minister said that the Union Ministry needed to adopt the earlier procedure of supporting the Eco Task Battalions, employing ex-servicemen to undertake massive afforestation and soil conservation activities.

He said that there was one such battalion functioning in the state and two more were likely to be raised soon, opening employment avenues to the ex-servicemen.

He said that the state was spending Rs 2.5 crore on each such battalion and sought Union Government's support in this respect..


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