NTPA urges state govt to lift ban on timber export

DIMAPUR, NOV 23 (NPN) | Publish Date: 11/23/2020 11:39:44 AM IST

 Nagaland Tree Planters’ Association (NTPA) has urged the state government to contemplate on the genuine grievances of the tree farmers and traders of Nagaland and lift the recent ban on timber export.

NTPA through its media cell stated that for a state like Nagaland, with limited opportunities, timber exports have become essential source of livelihood for the many. NTPA, however, lamented that in the recent implementation, timber exports had been portrayed negatively as a destructive force rather than an essential force of forestation and element of sustainable development. 
It pointed out that tree farmers could greatly contribute to the state’s development. It said that the annual Gross state value added by economic activity through forestry and logging in 2018-19 was Rs. 808 crore. 
NTPA said that there has been a concentrated shift in farmers focusing on commercial tree production as a strong source of income compared to other crops. However, it stated that the ban has resulted in the slowing down of developments, aggravating the poverty of forest dependent communities and other vulnerable rural groups and forcing them into wasteful, unplanned depletion of forest resources in a struggle to improve the overall existence. In tree farming business, NTPA stated that they follow all the norms and procedures as laid down by the Supreme Court and the state government besides qualifying all the criteria set by High Powered Commission (HPC) and the SIT constituted by Supreme Court under the guidance of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (EF&CC).
It said that tree planters and timber traders also contribute to the state exchequer through payment of royalties to the state government at the maximum rate irrespective of timber classes. 
According to NTPA, the ban on export of timbers outside northeastern states by railways was initiated basing only on two aspects—conservation of environment and for providing opportunities for the local youths by opening avenues for them to export their finished products outside the state through railways—without giving due cognizance of all the factors involved.
It stated that ban would only result in decrease of forest conservation and management in the overall process as most of the tree farmers and timber traders, who were directly or indirectly involved in the process of reforestation/plantations, had to shift their profession. NTPA said that banning small units involved in tree farming/sawmills/sawn timbers for self sustenance would be like “caging the cats (local entrepreneurs) and setting free the wild tigers (outsiders).”
Meanwhile, the association suggested that the state government allow export of timbers both finished and raw in a more systematic method by way of permitting export of finished timber products/goods such as plywood, moulding beats and furniture within North East states by road only and permitting export of unfinished timbers such as sawn/fanta outside north east by railways only through allotment of wagons on quarterly basis as permitted by Ministry of EF&CC.


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