State Government was motivating farmers to adopt herbal cultivation to strengthen their economy. This was stated by Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, while addressing a mammoth public meeting at Chauntra in Joginder Nagar Sub-Division of district Mandi, after he dedicated newly constructed building of Primary Health Centre, completed at a cost of Rs. 75 lakhs, to the residents of the area today. He said that the State Government would be spending Rs. 17 crore over construction of gymnasiums in each of the gram panchayats to help rural youth exercise and channelise their energy. He appealed to the rural youth to form Yuvak Mandals in large number and go for such activities.

Chief Minister said that majority of villages in Jogindernagar segment with population of above 250 had been connected with road connectivity while rest of the villages were being connected in a phased manner. He said all of the 52 gram panchayats in the segment had been connected with road in Jogindernagar. He said that international funding agencies had adjudged HImachal Pradesh the best State in the country which had utilized funds and achieved objectives. He announced Rs. 20 lakh for sports stadium ata Chauntra.

Prof. Dhumal said that 10,000 poly houses had already been constructed in the State under Pandit Den Dayal Kisaan Baagwan Samridhi Yojna which had the subsidy component of upto 80 percent of the project cost. He said that it had revolutionised the farm sector and strengthened economy of the progressive farmers in the State. He said that Rs. 300 crore Doodh Ganga Scheme was benefiting dairy farmers immensely where subsidy of 33 percent was available for SC beneficiaries and 25 percent for general category. He said that the State Government had provided Rs. 7 per litre support price to the milk producers during past four years with a view to ensure them remunerative price for the produce in the market. He said dairy farming was the one which could yield immediate returns to the farmers.

Chief Minister said that the experiment of lavender cultivation in Tissa sub-division in district Chamba during previous term of 1998-2003, had been successful since the farmers of the area had make their produce popular in the national and international market. He said that there were a number of schemes aimed at strengthening farm sector. He appealed to the farming community to take benefit of such schemes and strengthen their economy by finding self employment and employment avenues for themselves at their door steps. He said that Rs. 85 crore apple re-plantation scheme was under implementation in the State to replace the old root stock with high yielding varieties of the species. He said that horticulture had been contributing significantly towards state gross domestic economy.

Prof. Dhumal said that the State Government had started Rs. 321 crore Crop Diversification scheme with the cooperation of Japan International Cooperation Association (JICA) which was being implemented in five of the 12 districts in the state which included district Mandi. He said that Bhed Palak Samridhi Yojna had also been launched in the State with a view to strengthen the traditional avocation of sheep rearing in the State where soft loan of Rs. 1.00 lakh was being made available for purchase of 40 sheep and 2 rams with subsidy of Rs. 33,300. He said that there were ample schemes which could generate employment and self employment avenues to the rural youth at their door steps.s

Chief Minister said that it was common man’s government at the helm of affairs and common man was focal point of all the policies and programmes of the State Government. He said that State witnessed silent revolution during past four years and per capita income had increased from Rs. 43 thousand in year 2007 to Rs. 73 thousand during previous financial year. He said that Rs. 65 daily wage had been enhanced during past four years which was a record in itself. He said that the State Government had enhanced the social security pension to 2,77,817 pensioners from Rs. 200 to Rs. 400 and Centre was funding only 9,712 beneficiaries in the State. He appealed to the people to help check female foeticide which was necessary to balance the society. He said that 33 percent reservation was being provided to women in cooperative societies.

Prof. Dhumal also listened to public grievances after the public meeting at Chauntra.

Gulab Singh Thakur, local MLA and Public Works Minister, welcomed the Chief Minister. He said that previous government had been laying foundation stones without making required budgetary provisions. He said that Rs. 9 crore were being spent over health infrastructure creation in Jogindernagar assembly segment. He expressed gratitude towards electors of his home segment for posing faith in him. He said that 100 MW HEP was nearing completion in the segment. He thanked CM for PWD Circle, ITI, Monkey Sterlization Centre, Ayurvedic Pharma College, Institute of Excellence in Medicinal Plants were some of the important milestones established during BJP regime. He said that Chauntra will soon be getting Milk Chilling Plant to facilitate dairy farmers. He said that Rs. 75 lakh tourism circuit was being implemented to give boost to tourism activities