Hamirpur, May 10
Pine needles have become a source of earning for the poor living near pine forests in the district as these are purchased and used as fuel by cement factories.
The Forest Department has started a project for the collection of pine needles in collaboration with Ambuja Cement company. Pine needles will be collected with the help of locals and sold to the company at Darlaghat. The project will be of great help to the department in protection of forests from fire and will give an opportunity to people to earn money.
The cement company will get cheap fuel. Pine needles are a threat to environment and forest biodiversity in lower hills due to their non-biodegradable and highly inflammable nature. As pine needles fall mostly in the hottest months of the year, these are the main cause of forest fires. The company will buy the needles at Rs 170 per quintal.
Preeti Bhandari, Divisional Forest Officer, said the company had started procuring pine needles from the Badsar forest area and soon the collection would be done from other areas too.
Anil Joshi, Conservator of Forest, said the use of pine needles as biomass would reduce the possibilities of forest fires and protect the flora and fauna.
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