Closed saw mills to be allowed to operate again


Shimla: Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Wednesday disclosed that the 393 non-registered saw mills closed down during the 2005 during the Congress rule would start functioning again. Making a suo moto statement in the House, Dhumal said that the Centrally Authorised Committee set up by the Supreme Court in its meeting held on March 31, 2008, had decided that action should be initiated for registration of the 393 non-functional saw mills in Himachal Pradesh.
The Himachal Pradesh government would now frame new rules for registration of the saw mills and also give directions for their early registration. Dhumal said out of the affected saw mills, 318 are in Hamirpur district, 44 are in Sirmour, 28 in Shimla, two in Kangra and one in Kullu district.
Following the closure of these saw mills, the matter was taken up with the Centrally Authorised Committee constituted by the Supreme Court. The Committee, on hearing the case in January, 2006, decided to take final decision on the matter only after the state forest department informed it about the working capacity of saw mills, about availability of wood from forest and non-forest areas within in the state and quantity of wood imported from other states.
“Keeping in view the hardships being faced by saw mill owners and hundreds of labourers, soon after coming to power we ordered the forest department to conduct a survey to assess the availability of wood,” Dhumal stated in the House.
In the report submitted to the central committee in February 2008 the governance has stated that there is availability of 4.83 lakh cubic meter of wood per year to keep the saw mills running and also to support wood based industries

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