State loses 200 sq km of forest cover every year: CM Chang

State loses 200 sq km of forest cover every year: CM Chang
CM Chang releasing the ‘operation manual’ on Wednesday. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, SEP 12 (NPN) | Publish Date: 9/12/2018 11:34:01 AM IST

Nagaland is losing its forest cover at an alarming rate of 200 square km per year. This was stated by environment, forest & climate change and parliamentary affairs minister CM Chang while speaking at the “Sensitisation programme of district management unit, field management unit and first batch of villages under Nagaland Forest Management Project (NFMP)” at forest office complex here on Wednesday.

He advocated alternate methods beyond shifting cultivation to attain sustainable forest environment conservation at the programme, which was attended by forest department officials, a representative from Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) and representatives from 33 villages of 11 districts

Dwelling on the objectives of NFMP, Chang said the project aims at conserving land under shifting cultivation by a three-pronged approach – forest interventions and biodiversity conservation through community participation, livelihood improvement and community development and institutional strengthening. He said all these measures would contribute towards environmental conservation and generate a stable income for villages targeted under the project.

He revealed that the project would target 185 villages across 11 districts spread over 22 ranges.  The villages would be selected in four batches. The first batch consisting of representative from 33 villages were present at the programme.  

According to Chang, the project, which began from 2017, would be of 10-year duration and create both direct and indirect employment.

The minister also informed those present on the occasion that JICA had signed an agreement with Government of India on March 31, 2017 to provide “Official Development Assistance” loans to eight projects in India. These, he said, included NFMP and for which Rs 533 crore was sanctioned in 90:10 ratio, and that it would be implemented by a society through community participation.

In her brief address, JICA representative Yuko Shinohara said India was its most important partner when it came to pursuing sustainable development and resolving global issues. She said JICA’s association with India dated back to 1991-92 when it signed 28 projects for 14 States and was hopeful that its collaboration would positively impact people and forests.

Earlier in the programme, project director (AFP) Meyipokyim Aier, in his welcome address, emphasised that the success of the project would define funding for future development projects in the State. He added that it was the bounden duty of all those partaking in the project to remain focussed and implement all activities successfully.

In his keynote address, NFMP chairman I Panger Jamir lamented lack of funds and pointed out that several memorandums of understanding had to be abandoned for lack of fund under 14th Finance Commission. While appreciating JICA’s collaboration in rejuvenation of forest and ecology of Nagaland, he warned that, if rapid deforestation was not arrested, a time could come when “hill deserts” would be seen in the State.

Speaking on the occasion, chief wildlife warden SP Tripathi and NFMP consultant AK Bansal pointed out that fund constraint had been a major setback, but hoped that with revival of the department in the last year, the State could look forward to better days.

Bansal outlined how JICA’s support to afforestation had been unique in many ways. He said the Japanese agency focussed on results and not mere target, “insisting on science and technology for planning and monitoring of projects, kept community at the centre of the project and was empowered by a high-powered committee”. 

He also spoke on the two-year preparatory phase of JICA in setting up project implementation units and stressed on the importance of local community leaders in implementation, planning and monitoring of projects.

The programme also witnessed launch of NFMP website developed by Ramietech Solutions and release of operation manual by Chang. A play on the importance of forest conservation was also staged by Dreams Unlimited.

The programme was chaired by NFMP CDP-cum-CEO Dharmendra Prakash, invocation prayer by DABA pastor Rev Moang Lemtur and vote of thanks given by CF (NTC) YM Jami.


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