Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri lauded the efforts of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for his earnest efforts and effectively raising the issue relating to extension of time period of World Bank funded Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project with the Planning Commission in a meeting held yesterday at New Delhi.

The World Bank funded Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project which was ending by 31st March, 2013 has now been extended till March, 2016. The numbers of Gram Panchayats under the project have also been increased from 602 to 704 besides enhancement in project amount from Rs 365 crore to Rs. 600 crore.

Minister said that this project was being implemented in 602 Gram Panchayats of 42 Development Blocks of ten districts of the State, excluding tribal districts, since October, 2005. Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh had inaugurated this project in February, 2006 in Bilaspur.

Bharmouri said this project aimed at checking exploitation of natural resources besides providing better livelihood avenues to the beneficiaries. He said that 102 new Gram Panchayats had been included for undertaking extensive watershed treatment activities in project areas. He added that emphasis was being laid on land and water preservation so that irrigation facility could be extended for agro-horticulture sector in the State.