HP to give financial incentives for protecting forests

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Shimla, Aug 23 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Government would reward the stakeholders of forests with financial incentives for protecting the forest belt and also contributing towards increase in green cover.

This was stated by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal while addressing a public meeting at Ghariyana (Sunni) where he launched the forest plantation campaign in the state to celebrate 59th state- level Van Mahotsava.

He said the local population would benefit from forest plantation and stakeholders needed to protect the forest wealth from smuggling and fire.

The Chief Minister said that the state government would not permit setting up of polluting and low employment generating industrial units in the state. ''The government is taking all precautions to protect the ecology of the state. Only eco-friendly and employment generating industrial units would be encouraged for setting up in the state to protect the environment of the entire Himalayan region,'' he stated.

Mr Dhumal said that a modest beginning had been made with Jan-Jan Sanjeevani Van Abhiyan in the state to benefit the people by increasing green cover on one hand and generating income to rural folks-on the other.

He added that 4,500 plants would be planted in Gharyana, which is the venue of 59th State level Van Mahotsava, and appealed to people to actively involve themselves in plantation.

He informed that the Forest Department had already planted about two lakh saplings during current rainy season, besides, Jan-Jan Sanjeevani Van Abhiyan.

The CM said that PWD had also been involved in the plantation on the road sides so that green cover was increased substantially.

The department had been advised to protect the plantation so that the same could supplement the endeavour of the state government towards afforestation of the state in a big way, he added.

Later, the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of the Government Degree College campus and a suspension bridge over Sutlej river connecting Thali village.

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