Shimla, Nov 17 (PTI) In a major relief to the state's tribal people, the Himachal Pradesh government Friday said that the rates of firewood would be slashed from Rs 1,300 per quintal to Rs 805 per quintal.
The government also said it would sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Iceland government on November 18 for construction of cold storages with geothermal energy.
Making the announcements, Revenue and Tribal Development Minister Jagat Singh Negi said the government has decided to give a subsidy to the State Forest Corporation by cutting the firewood rates by about Rs 500 per quintal.
This subsidy would help the tribal people procure firewood from the corporation at Rs 805 per quintal instead of Rs 1,300 per quintal earlier, Negi told mediapersons.
The use of firewood increases significantly in tribal areas during the winters due to extreme cold conditions and reduction in rates would be a big relief for the tribals, he said.
He added that the government gave relief to people despite the acute financial crunch and the worst-ever natural disaster that recently hit the state. The state's tribal people predominantly reside in Lahal and Spiti and Kinnaur districts and parts of Chamba district.
The government would sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Iceland government on November 18 for construction of cold storages with geothermal energy. In case the pilot project is successful, it will be replicated, he added.
Expressing concern over the frequent landslides on the strategically important Hindustan-Tibet Highway (National Highway No 5), Negi said that besides Army personnel, farmers and horticulturists are also facing hardships due to the damaged roads but the Centre is not paying due attention.
In case the Centre is not able to restore roads, it should release money to the state to take up the restoration work, Negi demanded, while adding that reckless cutting of hills for construction projects is also responsible for landslides. PTI BPL RPA