Target to increase forest cover upto 35 percent, says Himachal Forest Minister

The State government aims to increase forest area from 26 percent to 35 percent in Himachal Pradesh. Forest Minister Govind Singh Thakur stated this while presiding over a workshop on project for improvement of Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihood (JICA funded), here today.

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. He said  Forest department has also developed a mobile app to alert the public on forest fires which was showing positive results.

Talking about the project, the Forest Minister said that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded Rs. 800 crores this project will be implemented  from 2018 to 2028. The purpose of this project was management of  forest area more efficiently so that forest cover could be increased alongwith 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. He said that 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.

Govind Singh Thakur stressed on organizing such workshops upto 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 alongwith  many other schemes. He said that 17 lakh saplings were planted in Himachal Pradesh during last monsoon and a 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 plantation in current winter season also.

Earlier, Principal Chief Conservator of  Forest  Ajay Sharma welcomed Govind Singh and detailed various modes  on the implementation of this project. A presentation was also given  in the workshop.

The representatives of the PRIs of 27 gram panchayats of Shimla and Rampur forest divisions, Mahila and Yuvak Mandals, Rep. of village forest committees and senior officers of State Forest Department participated in the workshop.

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