Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister said that a campaign would be launched to weed out Lantana, Congress Grass, Crafton and other harmful species of weeds affecting natural grandeur of the State and added that a Steering Committee would be constituted under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary, Forests and Principal Secretaries of concerned departments and Vice Chancellors of all Universities of Himachal Pradesh as its Members. He was addressing a High level Committee meeting held under his chairmanship to discuss about the ‘Congress Grass Hatao- Chargah Bachao Abhiyan’ here today.
Chief Minister said that these harmful weeds were causing harm to the crops and were affecting the agriculture and horticulture sectors adversely. He said that there was a need to launch a campaign in association with the concerned departments, gram panchayats and nagar parishads for planting environment friendly species like bamboo, broad leaved and fast growing species after weeding out the harmful ones. He said that 3600 square kilometers area of the State was affected by such harmful species out of which Lantana only was affecting 1770 square kilometers and rest of the species on 1830 square kilometers. He said that out of this 2000 sq. kilometers was forest land, 1500 sq. kilometers was barren and unused land and 100 sq. kilometers covered the roadside area. He said that an announcement was made this year in the budget speech to implement ‘Congress Grass Hatao- Chargah Bachao Scheme’ and the campaign was being launched for the same.
Prof. Dhumal said that district level Committees would be constituted under the Chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners who would prepare district-wise plans funded by CAMPA and MNREGA which would be associated with other environment protection campaigns. He stressed upon developing private nurseries for catering to the needs of the farmers and added that atleast one ‘Exhibition Farm’ would be developed in every district where the farmers would be trained to weed out the harmful species from their land. He said that work plans to be implemented within 5-7 years would be prepared at the Forest Division level which would include growing of plants for initial two years and maintenance of nurseries for the next three years. He said that Agriculture, Horticulture, PWD and Rural Development Departments would prepare work plans for non forest and private lands under the scheme.
Chief Minister said that State Government had launched a plantation campaign for planting ‘Peepal’ and ‘Bargad’ on road side which would be vigorously continued in future also. He said that this would not only discourage the growth of harmful species but also facilitate the farmers and horticulturists by ensuring availability of quality fodder by raising good quality plants. He said that this would also boost the means of livelihood for local people. He directed the officers to vigorously implement the campaign in a time bound manner.
Shri S. Roy, Additional Chief Secretary, Forests welcomed the Chief Minister and detailed about the campaign. He said that Task Force was being constituted by the Department to implement the campaign effectively.
Shri G. S. Goraya, Chief Conservator detailed out the features of the Campaign.
Shri P.C. Kapoor, Principal Secretary, PWD, Shri V.C. Pharka, Principal Secretary, Horticulture, Shri SKBS Negi, Principal Secretary, Rural Development, Shri Ram Subhag Singh, Secretary, Agriculture, Shri K.K. Pant, Secretary, Finance, Dr. Vinay Tandon, PCCF and other senior officers attended the meeting.