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ECO-Tourism

HW introduces two new sections – Environment and Eco-Tourism

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To promote green practices and ecotourism in Himachal, HW has introduced two new sections.

Environment

Climate change is a global phenomenon, which have become a reason of big worry for people in developed countries. Promoting green lifestyle and development of green technologies has become the first preference in many regions of the world. Many countries are tapping the renewable energy resources like solar and wind energy along with emphasizing the need to save water and energy to avert future crisis.

However, the public and government in the state of Himachal Pradesh have not paid any serious attention to the environmental consequences by the virtue of their daily routine activities and policies e.g. like choice they make regarding a product, the way they dispose of the garbage, use of energy and water. Pollution check is not considered as a common duty we all share, rather it’s done half heartedly to avoid penalty. It’s the public who has forced the government to create and implement rules and penalties for what should be its duty. You never cared about the comfort of other members of the society while you decided to smoke in a public place. Therefore, government legally banned it. In other words, we are so insensitive, self-centered, ignorant and uncivilized that government had to form hard rules enforced by law to tame us.

An example of our ignorant attitude is the change in the climate of Shimla. Can you remember, when did you see snow on Christmas last time? In facts,those born in the year 2000, could only hear incidents of heavy snowfall from those, who were lucky enough to witness the majestic occasion when nature showered white puffs of snow from the sky. Even in a city like Shimla, except a few people, rarely anyone bothers to analyze the fatal future consequences of human ignorance toward maintaining natural balance. Nature has gifted us a heaven like place on earth – Himachal Pradesh, but even a place like Shimla, that enjoyed the title of summer capital, is now losing its beauty and pleasant climate. Concrete structures are replacing the agricultural and forest lands. Places like Shimla, Dharmshala, Kullu-Manali are falling victims to overexploitation of resources. Frequent and long traffic jams in these regions hint at the huge increase in the number of vehicles on road.

If still the issue doesn’t sound much serious to you, then you should consider a few other proves of climate change. This year India has witnessed weakest monsoon since 2009, and according to RBI, rainfall deficit of 21 per cent is likely to affect Kharif crops resulting in increased costs. Government even claims that the the recent power grid failures that affected north-east India were caused because the farmers were using energy-intensive water pumps for irrigation, as the monsoon did not deliver enough water. Historic Drought in America and excess rainfall in Korea suggest the climate patterns are getting unpredictable.

The concern here is not consoling ourselves for the damage, but to find the reasons and causes, which are pushing humanity towards a catastrophic end. Anyone who has received elementary science education can be sure, that it’s no one other than the human race, devotionally digging a grave for itself by spoiling the balance of nature, ignoring natural laws, and provoking the planet to maintain the balance through its unpleasant ways. Every individual should know how much damage he/she causes to our environment and more than that, the ways to contribute to help earth retain its balance.

Therefore, as per the recommendations of HW Community members and readers, an environment section has been incorporated to promote ecofriendly practices ,to update the public on the sensitive issues such as environmental pollution, climate change, deforestation any every other issue which have already caused a great loss to a place like Shimla, once famous for the white Christmas.

ECO-TOURISM

Himachal Pradesh is a mountainous area located in western Himalayas. The state is famous for its greenery, culture, and hill stations. Moreover, Himachal represents a rich part of Himalayan bio-diversity and ecosystem. Places like Shimla, Kullu Manali, Dharmshala not only attract tourists from India but from different parts of the world. Tourism is one of the major sources of state revenue. A PTI report shows that in 2010 Himachal received a record number of 1.33 crore tourists. With such a rate of growth, tourism is estimated to add 300 crore to GDP annually. The state seeks to develop tourism as a key revenue-earning sector by 2015.

However, one thing that the government and the public must consider is that the environment, natural resources and bio-diversity of the state should not suffer because of the measures taken to develop tourism industry. Therefore, ecotourism should be the preference for the state. Local population shouldn’t be devoid of natural resources and agricultural land, which is also an important source of revenue and employment in the state, must not be sold to private firms to build hotels and luxury villas. It’ll be a great mistake to ready infrastructure for the development of tourism on the cost environment.

Therefore, HW consider it as one of its duty to help promoting our state as an ecotourism destination and therefore, introduced a section dedicated to the cause.

We hope, our efforts would create awareness among the public regarding the sensitive issues affecting the ecology and would help promote our state as an ecotourism destination. However, the public and our readers themselves plays the major role in the success of the cause, therefore, please contribute by writing to HW anything that you think is relevant for the conservation of our environment and promotion of ecotourism for the economical development of Himachal.

How You Can Contribute

HW is a platform for the public and it publishes and highlights what public want us to. Most of the public grievances and issues published on HW relate to their impact on a society as a whole. Members of the society sent us the complaints or issues on the behalf of their society. Therefore, for the creation of a healthy, developed and highly conscious society, it’s necessary to share individual opinions and views at some common place to ensure that the norms, rules and policies are formed and implemented for the equal benefit of each member of our society.

Hence, the members of the society writing to HW regarding the grievances, opinions and sensitive issues, which requires attention, are contributing for the betterment of the society they live in. In the same manner, every member of the society can contribute by writing to us about any matter pertaining to the public grievance, malpractices in the society, corruption, defaults of our governmental and social system, suggestions through pictures, videos and textual information. When an article on any complaint or an issue regarding the society and public benefit is published on HW, the information circulates and is exposed to greater number of people. The authority of the Community as a public platform increases in proportion to the number of people participating.

HW is one of the many other ways to contribute your part of duties, but what distinguishes is that it’s an online community accessible from any part of Himachal or world.

Important Note:

Please do not associate HW with any anti- government campaign. We criticize faults of both, government and public equally. The change is possible only if both, the government and the public work in co-operation with each other.

ECO-Tourism

ADB funds Rs. 1900 crore tourism project for Himachal

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ADB Funds Tourism Project for Himachal Pradesh

The design of the project is based on the detailed baseline data, a study conducted of 324 sites in 12 districts of the state, suggestions obtained from about 90,000 tourists.

Shimla: The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has approved a tourism infrastructure development project worth about Rs. 1900 crores to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for development of tourism infrastructure in the urban and rural areas of Himachal Pradesh.

With the help of this ADB funded project, the state would develop tourism in rural, unexplored areas and improve the infrastructure of the towns and also generate employment for the local youths and showcase Himachal as the best natural tourist destination state, the State Government informed.

Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism Ram Subhag Singh further informed the project would be completed in eight years.

The project is supposed to focus on diversification of tourism to new and rural areas by developing tourism infrastructure, create livelihood and employment opportunities through rural, adventure and ecotourism.

The project also mentions the application of innovative models like incentive-based mechanisms for community-based tourism activities, augmentation of services like water supply, sewerage, solid waste, skill development related to the tourism sector, advertising and marketing etc.

He claimed it would be one of the finest examples of sustainable tourism in the Himalayan States.

The project will have both hard and soft components and will include beautification of towns, development of unexplored areas, conservation and restoration of heritage buildings, infrastructure development in adventure, eco, rural tourism with an emphasis on community participation and employment generation.

The design of the project is based on the detailed baseline data, a study conducted of 324 sites in 12 districts of the state and suggestions obtained from about 90,000 tourists and designed in line with sustainable tourism guideline for the Himalayan States.

The Union Ministry of Tourism, Union Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs and Niti Ayog have also supported the project for tourism development in Himachal, it was informed. ADB Funds Tourism Project for Himachal Pradesh

The Government said the Department of Economic Affairs was satisfied with the performance and progress of the State on the ongoing ADB funded project of about Rs.600 crores.

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ECO-Tourism

Future of India is in tourism, says Alphons at conference on Himachal’s eco-tourism potential

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Potential of Eco-Tourism in Himachal Pradesh 2

Shimla: The Union Minister of State for Tourism Minister K. J. Alphons on Tuesday said the future of India is in tourism as the global tourism witnessed a growth of 7 per cent, while tourism in India grew by 15.6 per cent.

He was speaking during the inauguration ceremony of the two days International Conference on ‘Eco-Tourism Potential in Himachal Pradesh’ organized by the State Forest Department and Eco-Tourism Society of Himachal Pradesh at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali in Kullu district.

It is true that the potential of tourism in Himachal is promising. Sadly, the previous government of the both ruling and opposition parties did not do much to encourage eco-tourism or environmental conservation. The efforts were limited to announcements and proposals.

Some of the appreciable steps in this regard, which are very rare, were a ban on plastic bags and thermocol cups and plates.

All major international tourism destinations of the State have witnessed an unplanned growth of concrete and rise in the daily generation of solid waste. However, except for Shimla town, none of the other districts has a solid waste treatment plant. The Municipal Councils of these towns are still using landfills.

It was only recently in 2018 that the State Government made an announcement for the establishment of waste management plants in various districts. However, the government did not provide any deadline for the completion.

New Announcements of HP Govt

On Tuesday, the Himachal Pradesh Government has announced the development of 113 sites boost the eco-tourism. Out the total, five sites would be developed in a Public Private Partnership mode. Other 16 sites would be developed by the State Forest Department and 47 by the HP the State Forest Corporation. These agencies would are supposed to start eco-tourism activities at these sites.

It was announced that 25 new destinations would be developed by constructing log huts for tourists.

Three eco-tourism hubs would be developed during the current financial year and 10 places would be developed as adventure tourism spot of Himachal in collaboration with Eco-Tourism Society, Tourism Department and Mountaineering Institute, Manali.

Further, the government claimed that 31 eco-tourism circuits has been prepared and would be sent for approval to the Centre.

Nature parks and herbal gardens are being developed in the State and as many as 50 Forest Rest Houses have started eco-tourism activities in the State. It said efforts would be made to link eco-tourism with the rural life, culture and traditions.

The government expects it would not only give a boost to the unexplored and virgin tourist destinations of the State but also help in boosting economic activities in the rural areas of the State.

The government said it would spend Rs 50 crore on a new scheme ‘Nayae Rahaien Nayae Manzilain’, under which new tourist destinations would be developed in the State.

The government has banned the use of thermocol cup plates in the State from June 5 on the occasion of World Environment Day. These steps would go a long way in ensuring a clean environment of the State.

The eco-tourism could have several components such as trekking, mountain biking, river rafting, skiing, heli-skiing, camping, rock climbing, bird watching etc.

The government said the exploration of new destinations would not only provide much-needed solace to the tourists visiting these pristine new places in the State but also lessen the burden on already crowded tourist destinations of the State.
The Government would also associate private players to invest in eco-tourism projects.

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur filled a membership form of Eco Club on the occasion. Several MoUs for eco-tourism projects were signed on the occasion between different organizations and companies.

The left bank Manali road would be taken up through World Bank of CRF funding for its timely completion.

The announcements do sound appreciable, but in reality, the government is still struggling even to provide basic facilities to the public. The tourism industry in Shimla had taken a hit due to the water-scarcity caused by mismanagement and preparedness of the government.

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ECO-Tourism

Himachal seeks Rs. 300 crore from Centre to promote religious tourism circuit and eco-adventure tourism

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Religious Tourism in Himachal PRadesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government has urged the Union Minister for Tourism, K.J. Alphons to sanction three schemes worth Rs. 300 crore to promote religious tourism circuit and eco-adventure tourism in the state.

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, during a meeting in New Delhi, apprised the Minister that Himachal was also a major centre of religious tourism and religious tourism circuits will be developed here to provide devotees more facilities.

The Chief Minister also invited Union Minister to Himachal and said that he himself will take him to the tourist destinations of the State. K.J. Alphons whole-heartedly accepted the invitation.

Chief Minister also urged the Centre to provide funds generously for widespread publicity of tourism sites in the state.

The Union Minister of State for Tourism assured the Chief Minister that the Union Government will extend all possible support to this hill state for exploitation and expansion of its tourism potential.

The Chief Minister said that the focus should be on tourism in the state, which was not given before. However, now the state government is giving special emphasis to strengthening infrastructure in virgin natural places, he said.

Himachal has immense potential for adventure tourism and adventure sports like mountaineering, biking, river rafting, and paragliding and the state is considered as a paradise for these adventure sports.

However, it is true that the governments have done very little to polish and maintain the tourism sector.

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