Shimla: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today ruled out the creation of new districts in Himachal Pradesh and said that he was not in favour of further division of Kangra, the biggest district in the state.
"Creation of new districts entails additional financial burden and otherwise also there is no need to divide the bigger districts," he told media persons here.
When his attention was drawn towards Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee's move for the creation of three more organisational districts in Kangra and one more in Mandi district, Singh said it might be aimed at strengthening the organisation and having more DCCs within the same district.
When pointed out that some leaders from Kangra district had opposed the move, he said that it was matter between the HPCC and AICC and government has nothing to do with it.
"It is an experiment and it would be good for the organisation if it succeeded," he added.Referring to the issue regarding the setting up of a central university, the chief minister said it has already been decided that it will come up in Kangra district but now the government has to ensure some central place, preferably Dharamsala, is chosen as its location and not some extreme corner of the district.
Taking strong exception to reported remarks of BJP MP Anurag Thakur that if the central university was not set up at Dehra, it should be shifted to Manipal, Singh said that such remarks did not behove an elected representative holding senior position in the party.
Replying to another question pertaining to spurt in cases of illegal tree felling in the state, Singh said that he was committed to protect the forest.
"When I became the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh in April 1983, preservation of forest was on top of my agenda and till date my determination to protect the forest wealth has not diminished," he said.
Three major cases of illegal tree-felling have come to light which include felling of trees on private land in Taradevi near Shimla, in Chamba and in Shillai.
Refuting the charge of the BJP that the government was shielding the forest mafia, Singh said that over 10,000 trees were illegally felled during the BJP regime and there was not even a whisper and now the same party is blowing the "sporadic cases of tree felling out of proportion".