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HP to crack down on forest mafia

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

All set to crack down on the forest mafia in Himachal Pradesh (HP), the state government has decided to take strict action against those who are in any way connected with the forest mafia.

This was stated by Forest Transport, Youth Services and Sports minister Govind Singh Thakur at meet the Press organised in the Shimla Press Club. He maintained that concerted efforts will be made to wipe out the forest mafia.

Concerned about the recent incidents of forests mafia’s active in the various places that include Chopal and Koti areas of Shimla district, he said that accountability will be fixed not only on the lower staff but also those officers right up to the top level. He said that his government will not spare those Forest department employees who are hand in glove with the forest mafia.

Thakur underlined the need to send the message amongst the public that the forests are in the safe hands.

He said that task force created in the state are roaming in the forests to keep a strict vigil and all the illegal activities in the forest are under the scanner.

Thakur said that besides the 100 days target, his government is keen on promoting tree plantation all across the state in a big way as a campaign this monsoon (July and August), for which arrangements will be started ahead of time which includes identification of area for undertaking tree plantation and other arrangements of digging of pits.

“All sections of the society will be involved for undertaking the plantation and efforts will also be made to ensure its survival rate of the newly planted saplings,” he said.

Talking about his fruitful meeting on Wednesday in Chandigarh with the internationally acclaimed, Himachali born wrestler ‘The Great Khali’ Dalip Singh Rana, he disclosed that it has been finalised for hosting of the first ever Indian edition of the American World Wrestling Federation (WWF) pro-wrestling matches in HP.

“The tentative schedule has been fixed to be held in the Paddal Ground at Mandi between April 20 to April 30,” he said, adding that another similar WWF match will be held somewhere in Shimla and will be of international standard.

He said that his government will focus more attention on boosting sports activities in the state to promote local talent in other sports other than cricket and also the Youth Policy in the state will be renewed. He raised a question about the excess purchase of Volvo buses in the state by the previous governments and also alleged that closing the registration of the buses by the previous government led to the bringing of Volvo buses from other states.

The 15-seater buses that had been earlier run under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) were not suited for Himachal, he charged.