Shri J.P. Nadda, Forest Minister said that State Government was committed to increase green cover in the State and added that Himachal Pradesh had been selected for reforestation in the entire Mid Himalayan Region, reclamation of degraded lands and improving the livelihood of communities through Bio-Carbon Revenue Project under Rs. 365 crore Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project (MHWDP) with major financial assistance of World Bank.
He stated this while addressing a High-level Meeting of senior officers of State Government and World Bank delegation here last evening. The Minister stated that 602 Gram Panchayats of 42 Development Blocks of 10 Districts, excluding all tribal areas of the State had been brought under the MHWDP. He said that World Bank was contributing Rs. 270 crore whereas the share of the State Government and targeted beneficiaries would be Rs. 67.50 crore as Rs. 27.50 crore respectively. The Minister said that reforestation activities would be carried out on 12000 hectares of land under this project, on community, forest and private lands. He said that the plantations would be done on the basis of soil texture, climatic conditions, area based needs and requirements of the people, which would go a long way in generating revenue and income to the owner besides protecting the eco-system. This target would be achieved within the next three years, he added. Shri Nadda further assured on behalf of the Government that all possible help and cooperation would be extended to the World Bank by the team of State government officials involved in speedy and perfect implementation of the project and added that all bottlenecks would be removed. He called upon the members of High-Powered Committee to see that meetings were frequently held to discuss threadbare the problems and resolve them forthwith. He also assured the Committee that the Government would motivate the envisaged beneficiaries of the project to ensure their active participation. Shri Nadda thanked the World Bank authorities for approval of the Kandi Project as well as the Bio-Carbon Revenue Project in a time bound manner. He said that Himachal Pradesh had emerged as the first model State in the country for preparing the Project Design Document of Bio-Carbon Revenue Project for final approval of the World Bank authorities. He said that this project would prove to be helpful in realizing the dream of the State Government to bring about prosperity and financial self-reliance of the masses as per the Party Manifesto, which has been made Policy Document of Government. Shri Avay Shukla, Additional Chief Secretary, Dr. Pankaj Khullar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Shri R.K. Gupta, Chief Project Director, MHWDP, Shri Ranjan Samantri, a senior National Resources Management Expert, Dr. T.C. Jain, Senior Advisor and Prof. Ravinder Nath, a Meteorologist of global fame, representatives of the World Bank and senior officers of Forest Department and the Project participated in the meeting.