Shimla: The Union government has cleared a Rs 305 crore Integrated Watershed Development Program which would provide linkages to sustainable livelihoods is to be implemented in all the districts of the state, Jai Ram Thakur, minister for rural development stated.
The government has been making efforts to boost the agrarian economy and this watershed development program would help to increase agriculture and horticulture productivity through better water management practices, said Thakur.
The state had put the project before the central government and after it was relentlessly perused by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, the union government has accorded its approval. The project implementation is spread over a four to seven year period and would treat about 203832 hectares of land, he added.
For the first time a watershed project has been linked to enhancing livelihood patterns that would enable beneficiaries not only to benefit but also to be responsible for its sustenance, said Thakur.
Special emphasis would be given on increasing agricultural, animal husbandry activities and milk production under the program for which fodder saplings would be planted in the selected areas for ensuring adequate arrangement of fodder. The people would also be encouraged to adopt self-employment under small scale industries and those living in the watershed areas would get local employment also.
Funds received from the central government would be equally distributed to the districts through State Level Nodal Agency, constituted under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary. Separate staff was being arranged for functioning of Nodal Agency besides arranging State and District level staff for proper implementation and monitoring of watershed programme.
Thakur said that gram sabha would play key role in implementation of this program and the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the activities to be taken under this project would be prepared by the people and would be passed by the Gram Sabha.
The Gram Sabha would also appoint ‘Watershed Assistants’ for maintenance of account at the Panchayat level. Moreover, the Government had also decided to execute the works through user groups with a view to create assets and ensure their proper maintenance.
This project is to be implemented in Jhanduta and Ghumarwin Development Blocks of Bilaspur district, Mehla Development Block of Chamba, Bamsan-Bijhri Development Block of Hamirpur, Dehra Development Block of Kangra, Pooh, Nichar and Kalpa Development Blocks of Kiinaur, Naggar Development Block of Kullu, Siraj, Karsog, Dharampur and Sundernagar Development Blocks of Mandi, Theog Development Block of Shimla, Nahan and Paonta Sahib Development Blocks of Sirmaur, Bangana Development Block of Una, Keylong and Kaza Development Blocks of Lahaul& Spiti and Nalagarh Development Block of Solan district.