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WWF initiates venture to convert pine waste

SHIMLA: With a view to harness power of pine needles, which are generally considered a waste, besides to prevent forest fires from pine needles, the local wing of World Wide Fund (WWF) has come up with a project of make pine needle briquette (coal) at Anjli Mata panchayat atDharampur near Shimla.

WWF project officer 
Shailender Chauhan said, "Though the project is in a very initial stage, it is aimed at provide livelihood through pine needle briquette making, pine mulch, and basketry, besides controlling forest fires and is being carried out in association with local communities and with inputs from Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI's and agencies like NABARD."

Panchayat pradhan Sneh Kaushal said, "Though we are still learning the ways in the project as it is in a stage of infancy, we have had encouraging response at the community level and the project is being set up in Sihardi Brahmana, Gharti Kalan, Gharti Khurd, Maltoo, Kalech and Dhar Ki Ber villages. The aim is to collect waste pine needle leaves and turn the waste skillfully into an income generating source."

She added that they also aim to train 
women in basket making by using pine needles and straw. "It has a multifold purpose of skill enhancement of local community through adoption of pine needle briquette making technology, which will be source of alternative fuel, controlling forest fire by collecting pine needles as well as reduce pressure on forest produce by engaging women in basket, mulch and compost making," she explained

Dharampur DFO 
Prem Mahajan said, "The pine needles are fire sensitive and cause much loss to the forest wealth. This venture besides being environment-friendly, will also help generate income for the local community."

The Tribune (14-05-2013)