650 million British forest project for Himachal

Tuesday, 24 February 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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SHIMLA: The British government has approved a 650 million project to develop forests in Himachal Pradesh with the help of the hill state's rural people.

"A two-member delegation of the British government visited the state last week. They were satisfied with the results of this scheme," said Kuldeep Tanwar, a senior wildlife official.

"The team decided to extend the forestry development scheme after scrutinising the results of the project. The British delegation met officials of our forest wing," Tanwar told IANS.

He added: "The Himachal Pradesh forestry development project is being run in 90 demarcated areas from 2003 to 2007."

The rural community in the state, which is directly dependent on forests, will be involved, the official said.

The project is being assisted under the International Development Department of the British government.

Explaining the project, officials said long-term development schemes would be formulated, with the thrust area being the rural population.

The project aims to maximise benefits to the rural population. Over 90 percent of the over six million of the state's population lives in villages.

The hill state is home to some of the rarest forest species in the Himalayas. Environmentalists have expressed concern at the depleting fragile forest cover in recent years due to deforestation and encroachments.

Source: IANS
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