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Forest cover increases in Himachal

SHIMLA: Forest cover in Himachal Pradesh has increased in the last two decades from 21.16% to 26.37% as per the Forest Survey of India report. The area under forests in the state had increased to 32 crore cubic meters from 25 crore cubic meters. 

Speaking at the 64th state-level 'Van Mahotsav' function at Shamlaghat near Ghanati in Shimla on Sunday, chief minister 
Virbhadra Singh said that the government was considering to restore TD rights of farmers to fulfil their timber needs for house construction, which would help curb illegal felling of trees. 

Virbhadra Singh said 17,500 hectares of land would be brought under plantation, thereby generating about 34 lakh man days of employment during the current financial year. He said that 60% plants of broad-leaved species would be planted this year, out of which 20% would be of wild fruit species. He said that this would go a long way in checking monkey menace and also forest fires. 

he also ordered a probe into the sale of carton factory at Gumma in Pragatinagar. He said that it was unfortunate that the carton factory was closed and its machines costing about Rs. 80-90 crore sold at a throwaway price of Rs 2 crore only. Singh said that he had got information that the same machines were re-assembled at Nagpur and were producing cartons, which were being sold in Himachal Pradesh.

The Times of India (15-07-2013)