Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday said the state government has taken an important initiative for ensuring prosperity and self-employment potential and for safeguarding the interests of the people engaged in sericulture.

Addressing a public meeting at sericulture farming workshop and dialogue programme in Balichoki of Mandi district, Thakur said the construction work was underway at a cost of Rs 494 lakhs to benefit the weavers of Resham (sericulture) weaving under Balichoki centre.

Besides, a provision of Rs 50 lakh had also been made for pest training through this centre and currently 30 women weavers were receiving training in Balichoki and they were being given a wage of Rs 300 per day, he added. He further stated that Rs 3.18 crore had been released for the construction of silk seed production Centre at Thunag.

In addition, Rs 1.60 crore had been approved for the establishment of silk center at Bagachanogi, Dhim Kataru and Saroa. “For the first time, the state government has released an amount of Rs 3 crore for general category families this year for rearing, out of which Rs 52 lakh has been sanctioned for the Seraj area.

While 4.16 crore has been released to the farmers belonging to scheduled caste for construction of sericulture building,” he added. He said that the state government was endeavouring to start the vanished Oak Tussar sericulture scheme.

An amount of Rs 25 lakh had been released for clusters of 200 farmers and an oak tusser seed production centre at Gadagushaini. “The workshop has given an opportunity to the farmers to get information about the various schemes launched by the Central and state government for the development of the industrial industry which will definitely benefit them,” he added. He presented cheques worth Rs 1.25 lakh per farmer to five farmers for construction of silk rearing farm while 200 farmers of the state were being benefited from this scheme. He also provided cheques of Rs 40 thousand each to four farmers for silk insect pest tool and 200 farmers would be benefited under this scheme also.

He provided the first instalment of Rs 75,000 each to nine persons for construction of houses under the Home Grant Scheme. In addition, 45 sewing machines were also distributed under the follow- up programme. The Chief Minister honoured the outstanding farmer Roshani Devi of Balichoki region. MLAs Jawahar Thakur and Surender Shourie, President of BJP Seraj Mandal Bhagirath Sharma and President of Panchayat Samiti Balichoki Sher Singh Thakur were also present on the occasion.