Dharamshala: Using the timber surplus that the state exports to other parts of the country, the government has decided to set up two new processing units which would manufacture value added products to increase the revenue from the large forest produce that the state holds.
At a meeting chaired by Rakesh Pathania, forest minister, the State Forest Corporation at a board meeting decided to manufacture new products like wooden floor tiles, wall paneling planks and other products and the new manufacturing units proposed to be set up at Nurpur and Nachan in Kangra district.
The Forest Corp board also approved leasing out forest lands for mining purposes and setting up of eco-tourism units.
After the meeting Pathania disclosed to the media that other than setting up of the two new modern processing units, they would also be setting up solar power plants on forest lands at altitudes of more than 7000 feet on lands where there were very few trees.
“Income of the Forest Corporation will be increased by selling the solar power generated at these plants to the State Electricity Board, said Pathania.
The minister said, “sandalwood and herb-based excellence centre will be developed in Kuthed of Jawali sub-division of Kangra district, for which directions have been given to forest department officials to prepare a plan. The Forest Department has already marked the land for this excellence centre.”
He said that the government had decided to increase the yield of sandalwood and herbs, which had vast employment potential in the lower regions of Himachal as the climate was suitable for it.
“People are also being provided self-employment opportunities through afforestation activities. The Van Samruddhi Jan Samridhi Yojana has been started with the objective of creating employment opportunities by selling wild herbs and also promoting their production on private land.”