State Government would promote Willow and Sandal tree plantations in Sujanpur area and plant 60,000 sandal wood saplings during current financial year. This was stated by Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, while addressing an public meeting at Chabutra in Hamirpur, after he dedicated newly constructed Forest Rest House at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh and Primary Health Centre at Kuthera constructed at a cost of Rs. 43 lakh to people of the area. He also planted a sapling to launch 63rd District-Level Van Mahotsava, today. He said that willow wood were used for manufacturing cricket bats and with the planting of the same, the economy of the rural area would get boost besides preserving ecology of the area.

Chief Minister said that Van Mahotsava should not be limited to mere ritual observation, but should be made a mass movement where every stake-holder needed to play pro-active role in saving invaluable forest wealth. He said that forests were yielding direct and indirect benefit of worth Rs. 1100 crore per annum to the people. He said that the forest cover in the State had increased by 11 kms. during past one decade while in rest of the country the same had receded. He said that forests had been responsible for preservation of ecology of the Himalayan region and in slowing down the impact of global warming and climate change. He underlined the need for taking care of the saplings planted to ensure their survival for long for increasing forest cover.

Speaking on menace created by monkeys and other wild animals, Prof. Dhumal said that State Forest Department had sterilized 53,000 monkeys in four Sterilization centres in the State while 21 more such centres were proposed to be opened in different parts of the State. He said that similarly the strayed and wild animals were also causing immense harm to the crops and ecology, which needed to be checked to provide relief to the farming community. He underlined the need for planting fruit bearing plants in the forests so as to provide natural food and habitat to the monkeys. He said that Van Sarovar scheme aimed at creating water ponds to meet local requirements of the people and also for animals in the area. He said that 148 Van sarovar had so far been constructed while 100 more were proposed to be constructed during current financial year.

Chief Minister said that the State government had not only re-opened the closed 393 saw mills but also removed ban on sale of ‘Khair’ trees to add to the income generating activities. He said that sale of Khair had been banned by preceding government and growers were suffering heavily. He said that resin price had been increased to Rs. 7,000 per quintal to generate additional income to the farmers. He said that ‘Congress Ghas Hatao – Paryavaran Bachao’ scheme had been instrumental in reclaiming the fertile land in the State. He underlined the need to make it a campaign to collect pine needles from the forests which could be sold for different purposes in the market besides saving the forest wealth from fires. He said that the state had now been issuing grazing permits for three years at one go.

Prof. Dhumal said that vast employment avenues had been generated in public and private sector during current term of the Government. As many as 40,000 had been recruited in Government sector and over 70,000 in private sector. He said that State had spectacular achievements to its credit during current term which party supporters needed to propagate. He said that the roads damaged during current rainy season would be repaired on priority. He also detailed out various other schemes of the Government implemented for the benefit of the common-man during past four and half year.

Urmil Thakur, local MLA also welcomed the Chief Minister to her home segment and thanked for the development made in the area. She said that higher educational institutions opened in the district were facilitating youth at their door steps. She said that Dhaula Siddh HEP was bound to prove a milestone in hydel generation in the district. She thanked for connecting all panchayats in her segment with motorable road. She thanked for providing 100 hand pumps, funds for various link roads, drinking water and irrigation schemes to the people. She said that all MLA priority schemes had been sanctioned by the Government.

Des Raj Sharma, President, District Hamirpur BJP, congratulated Chief Minister for facilitating every section of the society during his present term. He thanked CM for opening one Private University in the district besides various prestigious institutions. Virender Thakur, General Secretary, BJP Mandal Sujanpur, welcomed the Chief Minister.

R.K. Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, thanked the Chief Minister for dedicating the newly constructed rest house to public and launching plantation campaign in the district. He emphasized the need for making plantation a mass campaign in association with the general public. He said that out of 11 kms., increase in forest cover in the state two kms., had been in Hamirpur district. He said that Rs. 35 crore were being spent annually on plantation to cover 20,000 hectares of land in the State out of which Rs. 2 crore were proposed to be spent in district Hamirpur.

Amar Singh, Pradhan, Gram Panchayat, Chabutra, welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries to his Panchayat. He thanked for the development which had taken place in the panchayat during past four and half a year and also apprised him of the demands of the panchayat. Pyare Lal Sharma, Chairman, APMC and State President, BJP Kisan Morcha, R.S.Mankotia, Chairman, Kangra Central Cooperative Bank, Narender Atri, State President, BJYM, Rajender Singh, DC, Madhusudan Sharma, SP. B.T. Negi, Chief Engineer, PWD, senior officers of forest department and other prominent people of the area were present on the occasion.