Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged the best state for positive shift in livelihood of rural folks through natural resource management, an official said here on Saturday.

"The state was declared the best state in different parameters in the third National Convention for Community Leaders held this month in Kolkata," Lal Chand Patyal, Divisional Watershed Development Officer with the Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project.

Patyal, who led community leaders from the hill state, said more than 100 representatives from 12 states participated in the Indian Institute of Bio Social Research and Development convention.

They exhibited their achievements in the sectors of natural resource management, agriculture, health and allied areas. Kiran Kumari, panchayat head of Badsar in Kangra district, highlighted how she mobilised the largely nomadic people to switch over to agriculture by harvesting rainwater and other allied activities like weaving.

Patyal said another panchayat head, Anil Kumar, explained how he endeavoured better livestock care, vermin composting and dairy activities through participatory mode at Gopalpur village near Dharamsala town. "What he did was to integrate water, forest, land, humans and animals. This has lessened seasonal migration and the enrolment in primary school has gone up in the area. Even family incomes have risen," he added.

Another community representative, Rajinder Kumar from Barana panchayat demonstrated how rainwater harvesting changed the cropping pattern and diversification of agriculture in 'changar' or uncultivable area.

According to Patyal, the villagers are now able to earn more not just from milk but also by harvesting crops, mainly vegetables. He said the ongoing Rs.365-crore Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project has transformed 600 villages in the state, fetching higher self-sustaining incomes and literacy for residents.