Balance necessary between ecology and employment: Dhumal

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Shimla, Apr 3 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today said the right balance was necessary between maintaining the state's ecology and providing employment to the youth.

Replying to a discussion, initiated by Randhir Sharma (BJP), on the Assembly favouring the setting up of eco-friendly industries based on eco-friendly, agriculture and horticulture in the state, he said while the state's environment had to be protected, industrial units that provide employment to the youth of the state were also a necessity.

Referring to the setting up of cement plants in the state, Mr Dhumal said, ''It is true that a large number of trees were cut and large mountains dug up, but it is necessary to provide employment to large number of youth.'' ''Besides ensuring afforestation, the Union Ministry of Environment and Pollution and State's Pollution Control Board have taken several steps to keep the level of pollution low in those areas where the cement plants are coming up,'' he said, adding the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed with the industrial units makes it binding upon them to keep the pollution level low.

The Chief Minister said the cements plants had helped the state in generating Rs 182 crore in last year and it was not possible for a small state to forgo this large amount of money.

Lauding Mr Sharma's suggestion of a separate road for ferrying raw material to the units and finished goods to the market outside the state, he said it was a good suggestion, but not possible to implement it.

He said since the central industrial package was available up to 2010 and the 10-year exemption in certain taxes, the government was interested in allowing a large number of industrial units to set up their units in the state before that.

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