Himachal Pradesh has sought Centre’s intervention to extend the World Bank-funded Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project by another year.
In its last leg, the project was started in October 2005 and extended up to March 2016. The forest department is demanding extension citing money left with the funding agency.
Over the past 10 years, 8,961 water-harvesting structures having a capacity of 10.78 lakh cubic metres have been set up under the project in 10 districts of the state. The two tribal districts - Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti are not part of the project.
Initially, 602 gram panchayats of 42 development blocks were covered under the project. However, considering the fruitful results, panchayats, which were covered under micro watershed programme were also brought under the ambit of this project.
“Additional financial support was provided by World Bank in 2012 for such panchayats for comprehensive watershed treatment and effective source sustainability,” a government spokesperson said.
Later, 108 additional gram panchayats of three districts were included under the project with increase in the project amount from Rs 395 crore to Rs 630.75 crore. The duration of the project was also extended from 2013 to March 2016.
“As many as 4,932 user groups were formed for managing natural resources in a sustainable manner under this project, which gave a new dimension to the development of the state,” he said.
The government also claimed that 3,219 hectares were covered under plantation under this sub-project during 2013-14. The verification of bio-carbon plantation by independent agencies was done and a report was already accepted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The state received carbon revenue to the tune of Rs 1.63 crore, which was transferred to divisional watershed development officers (DWDOs) for further distribution to the panchayat beneficiaries.