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Mizoram’s green gold goes to waste
Aizawl, APR 12 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 13 Apr. 2010 1:19 AM IST
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Mizoram’s bamboos, which are considered as the state’s ‘green gold’, have literally gone down in production during the past five years due to the government’s alleged failure to extract them properly.
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for March 30,2009 also slammed the Mizoram government for massive loss of funds due to poor implementation of Bamboo Flowering and Famine Combat Scheme (BAFFACOS) during ‘’Mautam’’ or cyclic flowering of bamboo that hit the state during 2007-2008.
The CAG report said the state government sustained a loss of Rs 226 crore during 2005-08 as it failed in extracting bamboo before gregarious flowering creating conditions for rodent menace and subsequent destruction of crop.
The projected average yield of bamboo in the state was 29.86 lakh MT as per Bamboo Resource Inventory,2002 and against the average annual yield of 29.86 lakh MT bamboo, the state environment and forests department extracted only 2.36 lakh MT bamboo during 2005-06 to 2007-08 and earned revenue of Rs 6.11 crore, the report added.
The poor extraction of bamboo resulted in the loss of Rs 226 crore to the state exchequer, the report said, adding the state environment and forests department neither took any effort to regenerate bamboo in the affected areas nor took any action was taken to raise the plantations of new species having different flowering cycles to avoid negative effects of flowering.
The report also said the state government incurred expenditure of Rs 29.65 lakh as bounty payment for purchase of 15.10 lakh rat tails during 2006-07. However, the rodents continued to damage jhum paddy, vegetables, fruit and rice cultivation in low-lying areas to the tune of almost 82.88 per cent of cropping areas in the state.
Even after spending Rs 29.65 lakh, the state government could not control the rodent menace effectively, the report added.
The CAG report added that different departments which utilised the BAFFACOS fund diverted and misused the allocations to the tune of Rs 23.08 crore by using it for some other purposes having no link with combating the rodent menace and mitigating the sufferings of farmers in the state.
According to Mizoram Remote Sensing Application Centre, the bamboo forest covers an area of 6708.37 sqkm, which is 31.81 per cent of the total geographical area of Mizoram.
Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has stated in the recent budget session that the mahaldari on bamboo had been suspended in order to stop the huge loss and properly tap the resources.
‘’Our bamboo resources have attracted interest from several countries. Vast amount of bamboo resources have been stolen under the mahaldari system. Therefore, we have suspended the mahaldari for bamboo and broomsticks for a more sustainable and profitable system of commercialising our forest resources,’’ the Chief Minister had said.

 
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