Shimla, Sep 9 (IANS) The development of tribal areas in Himachal Pradesh is one of the top priorities of the government, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Sunday.
“The government is ensuring development of tribal areas for which nine percent outlay of the state plan has been earmarked,” Dhumal said at a public rally in Kilba village in Kinnaur district.
He said Rs.333 crore has been earmarked in this fiscal for Tribal Area Sub Plan.
Ahead of the assembly elections, the chief minister is extensively touring tribal areas of the state. His visit to Kinnaur followed his visit to Lahaul and Spiti, districts dominated by tribals.
Dhumal said tribal areas constitute three percent of the state’s population and that the pace of development has been given priority so that these areas could be brought on a par with other areas.
Sensing resentment among the locals over the upcoming numerous hydropower projects in the state, Dhumal said in future all the projects would be allowed to execute after safeguarding interest of the locals.
Locals have been complaining that the hydro projects are damaging natural resources, affect livelihood and use up a large chunk of forest and agricultural land.
The chief minister said compensation for the land acquired by Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. for the construction of 1,000-MW Karcham-Wangtoo hydropower project would be given adequately to the people.
Voters of Urni, Yula, Chagaon and Miru panchayats in Nichar subdivision in Kinnaur had boycotted the panchayat elections in December 2010 to protest then upcoming Karcham-Wangtoo project due to threats of environmental damage.