Shimla, July 10 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday launched a state-wide plantation drive aimed at increasing the forest cover in the hilly state.
“A ban on the felling of trees in 1986 resulted in a loss of over Rs.22,000 crore to the state, but helped save thousands of trees from being axed. This increased the forest cover in Himachal Pradesh,” he said after planting a sapling at Kotla village in Shimla district.
Virbhadra Singh said trees were felled earlier for making cartons for packaging apples in the state.
“The Congress government decided to transport apples in corrugated boxes instead and today, it has not only captured the market but led to conservation of forest wealth of the hill state,” he added.
The chief minister said plantation drives were held to make people aware of the advantages of saving the fragile Himalayan ecology from degradation which, in turn, helped in clean environment.
He said a Rs.310-crore project funded by KfW, a development bank owned by the German government, is being implemented in Chamba and Kangra districts to increase the green cover and save flora and fauna from changing climate.