Himachal PR&I dept.
The United Kingdom would be exploring possibilities in entering into joint venture in the tourism, education, horticulture, environment, agriculture and hydel power generation with Himachal Pradesh.This was revealed by Sir Michael Arthur, British High Commissioner in India, who called on Shri Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, here today.
Chief Minister said that the Himachal Pradesh Government would welcome the collaboration of United Kingdom in education, since the country had the oldest and highest learning centres in the world, in starting various par excellence learning courses, vocational, information technology and medical education courses so that the State could emerge the ‘Knowledge State’ of the country. He said that the exchange programme between the Himachal Pradesh University and British Universities teachers who could play pivotal role in bringing about qualitative improvement in the prevailing higher learning system in the State universities. He said that the State Government would be welcoming collaboration in starting degree and diploma courses which could lead to the award of the United Kingdom certificates to the successful candidates so that the students passing such courses could explore the global openings in respective profession. He said that there was vast scope of opening nurses training colleges in the State which could also be collaborated with the British Nursing Training Universities.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said that tourism was one major sector which had been contributing significantly towards the state economy and providing people direct and indirect employment. He said that the State was encouraging village tourism with a view to acquaint the visitors, especially foreigners, to understand and experience the life style of the hilly people and taste the traditional cuisines flavours in the villages. He said that the potential areas in the villages were being identified and necessary infrastructure created to cater to the basic amenities to the visitors so that the rural tourism could flourish and strengthen the rural economy. He said that the State had every thing for every person and the State had unique features of catering to all types of tourism activities all round the year. He said that collaboration in catering to the high spending tourists would add to the endeavours of the State Government in this direction.
Chief Minister said that the State Government would be starting helicopter service for tourists from coming tourist season for which necessary preparations were already under way. He said that some private players had also offered their services to open quality resorts at the best natural locations in the State which could be exploited for the high spending tourists and boost the tourism economy of the State. He said that such offers were at various stages of consideration and every aspect was being examined after coming to some workable conclusions. He said that such resorts would not be linked with motorable roads but ropeways and helicopter services would be connecting it with the outside world.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said that hydel potential with environmental safeguards was being exploited to the optimum and a number of projects were under execution in joint venture and private sector. He said that the entire unexploited potential had been advertised for global bidding so that best terms were settled for the benefit of the State and its people while exploiting the valuable natural potential for long term. He said that the State would welcome participation of the United Kingdom Government and private sector in such ventures so that the entire potential was exploited expeditiously. He said that environment had been a matter of prime concern to his Government and at no cost environment degradation was being permitted. He said that all environmental safeguards were being adhered to strictly. He said that his Government had banned the green felling completely besides use of recycled plastic bags to safe the environment. He said that plantation campaigns were being launched to increase the green cover in the State for balancing the ecology.
Chief Minister said that the fruit growers of the State were progressive and opt for latest technological advancements frequently with a view to bring about qualitative improvement in their produce and get higher yield. He said that the old root stock was being replaced by high yielding varieties of fruits besides more area was being brought under fruit cultivation. He said that the Dr. Y.S.Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry had been contributing significantly through its research work in giving boost to the horticultural activities in the State. He said that the State would welcome active participation of the British horticulturists to strengthen the State horticulture sector.