Shimla: Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri said that nine percent increase had been registered in the average income of the families living in Mid Himalaya Project area after implementation of this project. Besides, 25 percent BPL families had also registered improvement in their lifestyle. He was speaking during the meeting with a delegation of World Bank Mission led by Norman Piccioni. The delegation was here to take stock of developmental activities under Mid Himalaya Project in the State.

Bharmouri said that irrigation facility to additional 8000 hectares land had been recorded besides increase in the production of milk, fruits and vegetables due to implementation of this project. He said that benefit of this project should also be extended to Chamba and Sirmaur districts and the matter pertaining to extension of this project needed to be pursued with Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India.

Forest Minister said that many areas of Himachal Pradesh had been infested by obnoxious weed lantana and its eradication programme should be included under this project.

Norman said that Himachal Pradesh had become first State of the country to implement this project within the stipulated time period which had been extended upto the year 2016. He lauded the role of the forest department for successfully implementing this project in urban watershed areas besides the rural areas of the State.

Principal Secretary, Forests, Bharati S. Sihag said that various departments should formulate a strategy for extending the benefits of the project after its completion to the people of the area and the works could be included under MNREGA.

Principal Chief Conservator R.K Gupta, Chief Project Officer, Mid Himalaya Watershed development Project, Arvind and other senior officers of the Forest Department were present on the occasion.