8 Sep :September 08, 2008 :Himachal Pradesh is poised to emerge as the eco-tourism destination of the country in coming few years and state government would be considering creation of a special purpose vehicle to achieve the objective.
This was revealed by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, while interacting with a high level delegation of DDA Group of Companies, Pune, headed by Commander Dipak D.Naik (Retd.), Chairman and Managing Director who called on him here today.
Chief Minister said that the state government was taking extra care to preserve the environment of the state by initiating effective steps in this direction. He said that the state aims at preservation and protection of the natural heritage, both flora and fauna to attract tourists to the state in large number. He said that the blooming of the tourism sector would usher into generation of ample employment opportunities to the local people besides generating revenue for sustainable development of its resources. He said that the state government intended to encourage private partnership in association with the local communities, NGOs, academic institutions and other entrepreneurs to make eco-tourism a house hold affair in the state. He said that the nature had blessed the state with immense natural wealth, which needed to be explored for the benefit of the people with all environmental safeguards. He said that the state government was dealing sternly with the anti-environmental activities.
Prof. Dhumal said that the state government had launched the Home Stay Scheme registering the private house owners having basic infrastructural facilities to cater to the requirements of the visitors with a view to acquaint them with the culture, customs, traditions and way of life of the people of the state. He said that under the scheme the visitors would be provided local cuisines during their stay besides making them familiar with the rural life so that they could carry sweet memories. He said that the objective behind introduction of the scheme was to make tourism a mass movement and household affair by involving every household in tourism promotion activities. He said that the state government was also motivating the school children from outside the state to visit state during apple season so that they could visit the apple orchards and see for themselves as how the crop was cultivated. He added that such children would also be taken to the hydropower projects where they would be introduced to the generation system so that they could add such experiences to their knowledge. He said that there were many such activities, which were being incorporated to the eco-tourism development plan of the state government in coming time.
Chief Minister said horticulture had been the backbone of the state economy since it was contributing significantly towards the gross domestic product of the state. He said that the state government was strengthening the horticulture sector by replacing the old rootstock with high yielding varieties, which could fetch the grower’s remunerative prices in the market. He said that emphasis was being laid to diversify the traditional cropping system and encourage the farmers go for cash crops, herbiculture, floriculture and income generating varieties of different crops which could optimally utilize the limited land holdings of the farmers. He added that the state aims at development of horticulture as an enterprise with the three dimensional objectives of economic development, nutritional security and environmental conservation.
Prof. Dhumal said that the state government would be examining the proposal of creation of a special purpose vehicle in association with the experts in the discipline to supplement the endeavour of the state government for sustainable development of the eco-system of the state so that the state could move ahead on the path of development with protected environmental conditions.
Commander Dipak D.Naik (Retd.) apprised the Chief Minister of his proposal to associate the company in the creation of special purpose vehicle to carry eco-tourism, horticulture, hydro power generation and allied activities in a systematic manner so that the state could achieve the target of sustainable development where people’s active participation in conservation and protection of natural resources would be ensured with economic development of the local communities. He said that the rich natural and cultural heritage of the local communities would be revived, eco-restoration and conservation of existing forest areas and interpretive skills of local guides enhanced with capacity building.
Shri Bhim Sen, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Smt. Manisha Nanda, Secretary Tourism, Shri B.K.Aggarwal, Secretary to the Chief Minister, Shri Amol Patil, Director of the DDA Group of Companies and other officers attended the meeting.