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conserving Rhododendron in Tawang
Published on 14 Nov. 2009 11:20 PM IST
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The Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Winrock International India (WII) have joined hands to conserve Rhododendron in Sakpret village of Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh. The project, jointly funded by the Civic Action Plan (CAP) of ITBP and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through WII, would establish a Rhododendron squash-processing centre along with an arboretum in the village at an estimated cost of Rs 24 lakh, sources said here today. The organisation is expecting to produce 5000 litres of squash in the upcoming Rhododendron flowering season (January-March) which can result in an overall benefit of nearly Rs two lakhs per annum to the villagers. Even though the Rhododendron arboreum (the species which is used for squash preparation) is distributed throughout the medium altitudes of the Himalayas (1600-2400m mls), in Arunachal Pradesh its consumption as firewood is very high. The high calorific value of Rhododendron arboreum makes it the preferred fire wood in the villages, helping the villagers in generating an alternative livelihood from Rhododendron arboreum (through squash production), the agencies are expecting conservation of the species in the community forest areas of the village. The Programme Officers of WII mentioned that the organisation would continue working with the villagers till the end of 2011 to train the villagers in sustainable harvesting, marketing and also providing support to establish Rhododendron based eco-tourism in the village. The joint programme has been initiated under the guidance and support provided by the ITBP Frontier Inspector General, Daljeet Singh. ITBP has constructed a building of 54 sq m in the village through their CAP fund. The villagers were engaged for the labour work for this construction so that the CAP provides monetary support to the villagers along with a building for the establishment of a sustainable business. The WII has provided the machines and has two full time staff in the village. Out of these two, one is a local community member. Commandant 4th Battalion ITBP, J P Therratil distributed the wages to the villagers of Sakpret, who were engaged in the construction of the building yesterday at a gathering in the village. Yuva Arunachal Secretary General, Chombay ZPM Lumla, Sangey Norbu, Gaon Bura Dorjee Tashi, Monalisa Sen and K M Jayahari (Program Officers of WII) were present on the occasion.

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