Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government has started the process to set up 100 'panchvati' parks and gardens for creating recreational space for the elderly in all 78 blocks of the rural areas of the state, officials said on Sunday.
The 'panchvati' scheme notified by the Rural Development Department was recently launched by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to set up such parks with outdoor sports and play areas.
These parks will be primarily designed for the elderly people to improve their fitness and wellbeing.
In the first phase, land site has been identified for construction of these parks at Gohar in Mandi district, Bangana in Una district, Banjar and Naggar in Kullu district, Kaza in Lahaul-Spiti district, Nagrota Bagwan and Sulah in Kangra district, Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur district, Tissa and Bhatiyat in Chamba district, Kalpa in Kinnaur district, Kandaghat in Solan district, Rohru in Shimla district and Nadaun in Hamirpur district.
A wide range of activities would be made available in these parks to meet physical, emotional and social needs of the senior citizens.
"The initial work on such parks has been started at some places and construction work on parks in blocks will be completed during this fiscal, while the remaining 80 parks and gardens will be developed in phased manner by December 2021," said Panchayati Raj and Rural development Minister Virender Kanwar.
Each park will have state-of-the-art exercise and recreational equipment, a stone pitched jogging track, walking tracks, an exclusive space for yoga and meditation classes, besides amenities like toilets, etc, where senior citizens especially living in remote, tribal and backward areas will be able to spend their time fruitfully.
The park and garden will be built at a cost of around Rs 10 lakh and around Rs 10 crore will be spent on construction of 100 such parks throughout the state with budget provision from convergence with the MNREGA, Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural) and the 14th Finance Commission, said the minister.
He said additional funds might be sanctioned at hilly and tough terrain where construction cost is likely to be increased significantly due to tough geographical locations.
The shade grass (lawn) will also be grown in the parks to beautify them for health-conscious citizens besides other basic amenities.
The parks will also be used for promotion of sales of local products of self-help groups to generate additional economic activity and employment avenues at the village level.
These parks will be set up in land ranging from one bigha to two bighas in all 78 blocks of the state. Their upkeep and maintenance will be managed by local Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The park areas in tribal belts will be approximately one bigha, while in lower hills the area can be extended up to two bighas or beyond depending on identification or availability of suitable land in the region.