By Accommodation Times Bureau
The State government aims to increase forest area from 26 per cent to 35 per cent in Himachal Pradesh. Forest Minister Govind Singh Thakur stated this while presiding over a workshop on a project for improvement of Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihood (JICA funded), on Tuesday.
Forest Minister said that it was necessary to save forests and stop deforestation was the top priority of State government. He said that State government has taken various steps in the direction of protecting forests from the fire. He said this requires the support and participation of people and department have also developed a mobile app to alert the public on forest fires which were showing positive results.
Talking about the project, the Forest Minister said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded Rs 800 crores for the project and will be implemented from 2018 to 2028. The purpose of this project was the management of forest area more efficiently so that forest cover could be increased along with improvement in community livelihood. He said that this project of JICA will be implemented in three stages in six districts of the State viz: Kinnaur, Shimla, Bilaspur, Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul Spiti. India and Japan had signed a MoI for this project in Tokyo on March 29, 2018, and both the countries were eager to bring many new projects together, he said.
Thakur stressed on organizing such workshops to district and range level so as to persuade the stakeholders about various aspects of the project for its effective implementation besides sharing of neo ideas where all can work with full commitment.
The Forest Minister said that under the able leadership of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the State government is working with new dimensions. He said that to protect forest and to bring more land under forest cover, the State government had started Van Samridhi, Jan Samridhi Yojna along with many other schemes. He said that 17 lakh saplings were planted in Himachal Pradesh during last monsoon and fencing was also done for the protection of planted saplings. About 90 thousand people contributed to make this three days campaign successful. Now the department is also preparing to start a plantation in current winter season also.