Himachal Pradesh State Forest Corporation had supplied 60 thousand quintals of fuel wood to the tribal districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Pangi area of district Chamba for current winter season. This was stated by Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister while presiding over 171st Board of Directors Meeting of Himachal Pradesh State Forest Corporation Limited, here today.

Chief Minister said that the Government had ensured that demand of fuel wood in offices as well as of domestic consumers in tribal areas fulfilled before the winter season set in so that people living there do not face any problem. He said that with a view to provide clean energy to the tribal population and employees serving in such areas, the State Government had substituted the charcoal with LPG gas cylinders, kerosene and fuel wood to keep their winters warm. He said that the Forest Corporation had made arrangement for supply of all required commodities well before the onset of winter season and the fuel wood too was stocked at different points in the entire tribal region. He said that the State Government had been taking extra pains to ensure supply of every essential commodity to the people residing in tribal areas during winter besides the employees serving them in the area. He said that fuel wood was one of the most vital commodities which were necessary to protect people against severe winter conditions.

Chief Minister congratulated the Corporation Management turnover of Rs. 113 crore during last three quarters, upto November, 2011 which included sale of timber valued at Rs. 91 crore. He said that the State Government had designated the State Forest Corporation the authority to sell timber and fuelwood etc. in the open market as also provide TD to the right holders on the rates fixed by the State Government. He said that the Corporation had been carrying various marketing activities relating to the forest produce which included not only the timber but also rosin and turpentine etc. as well. He said that the quality of all such forest produce had been considered as one of the best in the market and there was ready market available for such products in domestic and international market. He said that the Corporation had also been competing in the open market to sell its produce at remunerative prices so that it could earn profit out of its products. He underlined the need for diversification of the activities of the Corporation so that it could generate employment and self-employment avenues to the people of the State. He said that the Corporation had also been lifting the fallen trees in the forest area and convert the same into timber to market to the consumers through its retail outlets in different parts of the State.

Chief Minister appreciated the endeavour of the Corporation to operate a chain of eco-tourism camps which were gradually gaining popularity with the nature lovers visiting Himachal Pradesh all round the year. He said that such complexes were being maintained at Narkanda, Jalori, Shojha and Manali and a large number of tourists were opting to stay in it to enjoy the pristine climate and nature at its best. He underlined the need to professional management of the complexes by tie-up with the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and take benefit of its professional marketing personnel posted in different metropolitan cities of the country. He advised the Management to adopt strictly commercial approach in managing the affairs of the Corporation and ensure that the profit margin was increased with every passing year.

S.Roy, Additional Chief Secretary (Forests) welcomed the Chief Minister and detailed activities of the Corporation. He said that the Management was endeavouring not only to elaborate its commercial activities, serve the people of the State but also generate additional income to the State. S.B. Islam, Managing Director, conducted the proceedings of the Meeting. Vikram Thakur, Vice Chairman, Dr. Srikant Baldi, Principal Secretary Finance, R.K.Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A.C. Sharma, Executive Director, Non-official Members of the Board were present in the Meeting.