Project cost of the Swan River Project being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and executed by State Forest Department, had been enhanced to Rs. 220 crore from already sanctioned cost of Rs. 160 crore and implementation period extended by one year from March, 2014 to March, 2015 by the Government of India. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal reveals it in a high level meeting held here under his Chairmanship today.

Chief Minister said that Swan Project had been got approved with a view to regenerate the forests, protect the farm land, enhance agriculture and forest production, reduce soil erosion and decrease sediment load. Besides, the project aims at improving living conditions of the people residing in project area through effective and environment friendly treatment activities in the catchment areas of 96 gram panchayats in district Una. He said that keeping in view the effective implementation and performance; the project cost had been revised and enhanced to Rs. 220 crore, registering a remarkable increase of Rs. 60 crore besides extending the period by one year. He said that 30,000 thousand families had been targeted to be benefited under different project implementation activities, out of which 12,000 families had so far been delivered direct benefits till November, this year. He said that 5,500 hectares of land had been protected against floods through afforestation activities and water table had increased substantially in the project area and 66 water bodies constructed.

Chief Minister said that micro-plans including livelihood plan had been prepared for 71 panchayats while 25 other panchayats had been covered under livelihood plan. He said that Panchayat Development Committees had been formed and constituted in all the identified 96 panchayats. He said that Rs. 44 crore had been earmarked to be spent over afforestation, Rs. 74 crore on soil conservation, Rs. 11 crore on land re-claimation and Rs. 26 crore on livelihood generation activities besides spending Rs. 20 crore on infrastructure development activities. He said that the overall development of the area and its habitants would be carried under the first phase while the second phase had also been proposed to be launched which would give further boost to the developmental activities in the entire area of the project.

Chief Minister said that additionally the State had been successful in getting additional grant of Rs. 12 crore under CAMPA which was over and above the already allotted budget of Rs. 45 crore. He said that the scheme was under implementation in the State to carry forestry related activities such as plantation, checking soil-erosion and allied activities. He said that the State had received Rs. 26.68 crore for the financial year 2009-10, Rs. 42.16 crore for year 2010-11. He said that the annual plan under CAMPA submitted for the approval of the Government had also been sanctioned for Rs. 68 crore. He said that in all Rs. 126 crore would be spent upto March, 2012. He added that forest clearances for 42 hectares of forest land had also been obtained for implementation of Shah Nehar Project by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Dhumal directed the authorities to adhere to fixed time schedule of the different schemes so that there was no escalation in the project cost and benefits were made available to the people at the earliest possible. He also underlined the need for periodic evaluation of the progress at different level by competent authorities. He emphasized the need to prepare similar project for other areas of the State as well so that people living in such areas were also benefited.

R.K.Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, welcomed the Chief Minister and apprised him of the different activities being undertaken by the Department under the project implementation. He assured the Chief Minister that regular monitoring of the progress was being carried out. Dr. Arun Sharma, Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister other senior officers of the forest department were present in the meeting.

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