Keekli Bureau, 24th February, 2020

Forest and natural wealth is the identity and asset of Himachal Pradesh so its protection and promotion is state’s priority and responsibility of every individual, said Industry Minister Bikram Thakur. He was speaking while laying the foundation stone for Forest Guard cottage at Nature Park at Sadwan on Sunday. He said forests, nature and wildlife gives Himachal a special place not only in the country but in the world as well. Due to its natural wealth, lakhs of tourists visit this hill state every year and generate means of employment to the people here.

He said about 67 per cent of the total geographical area of the state is under forest so the state can generate income from the promotion and protection of forests and nature. Several schemes have been started by the state government for conservation of forests and promoting eco-tourism.

The Minister said the Nature Park to be built at a cost of Rs 25 lakhs in Sadwan will bring the people of all age groups closer to nature and increase their participation for the conservation and promotion of forests. He said the park will have facilities for elderlies and for the games and exercise for the youth.

He also laid the foundation stone for a forest guard cottage in the forest area, to be built at a cost of Rs 10 lakhs. The forest guard cottage, he said, will help in close monitoring of this dense forest as it will provide residential facilities for forest guards near the forests.

Later, under the Srinivas Ramanujan Student Digital Scheme, Bikram Thakur distributed laptops costing Rs 29 lakhs among 100 meritorious students of various schools of Jaswan Paragpur and Dehra Assembly constituencies at Dadasiba. He said the state government is giving laptops to 8,800 students of class X and XII and 900 meritorious students of colleges in the state at the cost of Rs 29.10 crore.

Information and Communication Technology laboratories have been started in 2137 schools through smart classrooms. He said that approval has been granted to start smart classes in 1,800 more schools. Vocational education is being imparted in 873 schools. Himachal is the second state in the country to impart vocational education at school level.

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