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Manipur CM Biren offers alternative livelihood means for poppy cultivators

Manipur CM Biren offers alternative livelihood means for poppy cultivators
CM N Biren Singh chaired a consultative meet with village chiefs of hill areas on Saturday. (NP)
Correspondent IMPHAL, DEC 5 | Publish Date: 12/5/2020 12:42:18 PM IST

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on Saturday offered various alternative means of livelihood to farmers and villagers of hill districts of the state engaging in illegal poppy cultivation.

“The state government is offering various alternative ways to earen livelihood to farmers/villagers instead of cultivating poppy in the hill ranges and farms, Singh wrote in his facebook post today after a consultative meeting here.

The chief minister chaired the consultative meeting of village chiefs of different villages of Ukhrul district, which are affected by destruction of poppy plants under government’s ‘War on Drugs’ campaign.

State tribal affairs and hills minister Vungzagin Valte, social welfare minister O Henry, some MLAs from hill districts, DGP LM Khaute and officials of the concerned departments attended the meeting.

Plantation and processing of lemongrass as an alternative livelihood for affected villagers was the main agenda of the meeting, a DIPR release said. 

In a PowerPoint presentation prepared by the tribal affairs and hills department, it was informed that the state government has sought approval of a project costing Rs 68 crore from the Union ministry of tribal affairs for the plantation  of lemongrass in 130 hectares of different hill districts of the state. 

Necessary steps have been taken up to implement a pilot project costing Rs 60 lakh by the Manipur Food Industries Corporation Ltd. to plant lemongrass on 10 hectares of Senapati district and three hectares in Ukhrul district. 

The state rural development and panchayati raj (RD&PR) department has also given permission to the plantation of lemongrass under MGNREGA. The project may further expand if it is successful.

Singh also directed the officials to convene a joint meeting of all the concerned officials and stakeholders to identify villages where lemongrass plantation may commence. 

He said that villagers would automatically switch to other occupations if the government provides proper assistance. 

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