SHIMLA: Expressing concern over the delay in Forest Conservation Act (FCA) and Forest Rights Act (FRA) clearances for the developmental projects in the state, chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the state government would take up this issue with the Centre so that the works of developments projects could be taken in hand at the earliest.
He said the state government was committed to keep a balance between development and the environment and the development projects of utmost importance like heliports, electric vehicle charging stations and day boarding schools etc were affected due to delays in getting FCA and FRA approvals.
While presiding over a meeting of the forest department in Shimla on Tuesday evening, the chief minister directed the forest officers to expedite the cases of FCA and FRA clearances and said accountability of officers would also be fixed in this matter.
Earlier, the chief minister also presided over the 11th meeting of Himachal Pradesh State Board for Wildlife and directed the department to explore tourism activities like water sports and hot air balloon operations in Pong Dam reservoir so that maximum tourists should be attracted to Kangra Valley which would go a long way in enhancing the income of the locals.
He said Mathial and Kathrah Khas in Dhameta range and Nangal Chowk sites in Nagrota Surian range had been identified and the Forest and Tourism department would join hands to take the matter forward so that employment opportunities could be explored.
The state government has decided to develop Kangra as Tourism Capital of the State and the best infrastructure would be made available to the tourists visiting the area, he said.
He said that adventurous activities like swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rafting and diving etc should be promoted in the reservoir and communities engaged in agriculture and grazing should also be involved by tourism agencies to support their livelihoods.
He said the state government was implementing various schemes to preserve wildlife and urged the people to support these efforts.

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