Forest Conservation Act Hindering Himachal Road Projects – Dhumal

Budget Session – Question Hour

Shimla: The Forest Conservation Act had stalled a lot of developmental projects in Himachal and other states, said chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in the Vidhan Sabha today. The matter had been taken up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who in turn had broached the subject with the Chief Justice of India, he added.

In an intervention during question hours, the chief minister said that a meeting of Supreme Court Judges would be held on the matter and the union minister of state for environment and forests had assured the state government that the matter would be taken up in the green court of Supreme Courts, for finding an early resolution to the issue.

Some state roads were not being constructed because the trees on the path were not being felled despite having got clearance from the central government but for a Himachal High Court Single Bench directive against any felling,” said Dhumal. The state government has gone in appeal to a double bench of the High Court, the orders of which are awaited, he informed.

In reply to a question by Gangu Ram Musafir (Congress), public works minister Gulab Singh Thakur said that roads, education and health were being accorded priority by the present government. Roads were being given top priority and by the end of the current financial year all villages having a population of 500 or more would be connected by roads, he said.
In the next phase village with a population of 250 – 499 would be taken up and all such habitations are proposed to be connected by road by 2012, he added.

Transport minister Kishan Kapoor in reply to a question by Roop Singh (BJP) said that the cost of plying the HRTC buses was Rs 23 per km. The state transport was incurring an annual loss, said the minister. HRTC had outsourced some routes and contracts had been given to private parties to ply their vehicles. The state transporter had also hired 3 Volvo buses, 5 forty seven seater buses and 28 forty two seater buses, he disclosed.

Education minister ID Dhiman, in a written reply to a question by Mahinder Singh (BJP), said that by 15 Feb, 2007, the government had opened 827 schools. Of these 121 were primary schools, 273 were middle schools and 244 were 10 +2 schools.

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